Ex-DOJ official Jeffrey Clark, charged in Georgia election probe, files motion opposing trial schedule

Clark is one of 19 charged with trying to overturn Georgia's election results.

August 17, 2023, 7:36 PM

A lawyer for former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark has filed a motion opposing the trial schedule proposed by the Fulton County district attorney following Clark's indictment Monday on charges of participating in efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia.

Clark, the former assistant attorney general for the DOJ's Environment and Natural Resources Division, was one of 18 people charged along with former President Donald Trump in a sweeping racketeering indictment for alleged efforts to overturn the election results in the state.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on Wednesday proposed a start date of March 4 for the trial. Clark's motion makes him the first defendant to push back on that timeline.

In the objection, filed on Thursday, Clark's attorney urged the judge deny the DA's scheduling motion for a number of reasons, including that it was "highly premature."

"The indictment was filed at approximately 10:30 PM on Monday August 14, 2023, while the Motion was filed at 12:49 PM on August 16, 2023," the objection said. "To our knowledge, not one of the 19 defendants named in the indictment has been served with any warrant, taken into custody, had a first appearance, or been arraigned, or waived arraignment."

The indictment charges Clark with two counts, including attempt to commit false statements and writings. Specifically, the indictment alleges that Clark made false statements to senior DOJ officials "urging the officials to let him convey the false information to Georgia State Officials."

The indictment alleges Clark "solicited" two other DOJ officials to sign "a document that falsely stated that the United States Department of Justice had 'identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple states, including the State of Georgia,'" and to send the document to Georgia officials including Gov. Brian Kemp, Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston, and President Pro Tempore of the Georgia Senate Butch Mille.

In this June 13, 2023, file photo, Jeffrey Clark, former Acting Assistant Attorney General, arrives for Rep. Matt Gaetz' January 6th field hearing, in the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images, FILE

In Thursday's motion, Clark's attorney said the proposed scheduling order "could be interpreted as an attempt to stake out a place at the head of the line of prosecutors seeking the 'prize' of trying the former President before the 2024 presidential election."

Trump also faces charges in special counsel Jack Smith's Jan. 6 and classified documents probes, as well as the Manhattan DA's hush money case.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has dismissed the probes as politically motivated.

Clark's attorney also wrote in Thursday's filing that "Insofar as we are aware, the State has made zero attempts to confer with counsel for any of the 19 Defendants regarding the proposed scheduling order."

Two days after co-defendant Mark Meadows officially filed a motion to move his case into federal court, Clark's attorney indicated in Thursday's filing he, too, could file to remove Clark's case to federal court, writing that he "reserves all defenses" -- including "federal immunities based on his status as a high- ranking federal officer at the time of the alleged events."

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