A federal judge in Atlanta has shot down former Trump DOJ official Jeff Clark’s attempt to remove his RICO prosecution to federal court in a Friday ruling.
The decision means that Clark will be prosecuted for his efforts to reverse Trump’s loss in the 2020 election in state court in Fulton County.
Clark has the dubious distinction of being the sole high-ranking DOJ official to attempt to enlist the full force of the Justice Department in Trump’s effort to muddy the election result and declare victory. Clark, who was acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Division at the time, sought to have the DOJ send a letter declaring that fraud had impacted the election result and advising state legislatures to consider sending different electors to Congress.
At the most dramatic point in the scheme, Trump initially agreed to appoint Clark as acting attorney general. Threats to resign from the entire senior DOJ leadership and White House counsel’s office dissuaded Trump from doing that.
Clark had argued that his actions formed part of his official duties within the Justice Department, and that the case should therefore be moved to federal court where it could be dismissed.
Former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows made and lost a similar argument, though legal experts believe that a live question remains in that case.
Clark faces a RICO conspiracy charge and a false statements charge in the indictment brought by Fulton County DA Fani Willis. The federal judge found that none the actions which led to his indictment on the charges could not have been part of his duties at the Justice Department.
Clark had attempted to argue that Trump delegated him the task of drafting the letter and working on the election, but the judge said he found “no evidence that the President directed Clark to work on election-related matters generally or to write the December 28 letter.”
The judge also found that the work Clark was trying to do ” would have been outside the scope of DOJ more broadly.”
It’s not clear whether Clark will appeal the ruling.
Read the ruling here: