Geoffrey Clarke seeks stay of disciplinary action over Georgia charges

A former Justice Department official who served in the Trump administration and is one of 19 defendants in the Georgia 2020 election probe is seeking to suspend the ethics case against him, citing the charges he faces in the Fulton County indictment.

In a 13-page filing in federal court in Washington, attorneys for Jeffrey Clark argued Thursday that the ethics violation lawsuit brought by the Washington attorney licensing authority should be stayed pending the resolution of the Georgia charges. substantially the same charges.”

“A reasonable ban on these hybrid civil-criminal actions would avoid imposing on Mr. Clark the unnecessary hardship of having to litigate two cases at once, and would bring the legal system into public disrepute or Mr. Clark’s constitutional rights,” they wrote.

They argued, citing Fulton County District Attorney Fannie Willis, that Clark’s submission to disciplinary proceedings in Washington would “force him to expose his case to the Georgia district attorney.” They also suggested that refusing to stay the proceedings could take away Clark’s Fifth Amendment right to refuse to testify in the Georgia case.

Clark’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday evening.

Former President Donald Trump, Clark and 17 others were indicted Monday in connection with efforts to alter the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.

He faces two charges in a broad 41-count indictment, including violations of the Georgia Rockets Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and criminal attempt to make false statements and writings. He did not file a petition.

Clark, who was the Justice Department’s environmental attorney, was tapped by Trump to serve as an assistant attorney general for the civil division in 2020. After the election, Trump considered appointing Clarke to replace acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.

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According to the indictment, Clark and “unindicted co-conspirators” prepared a document falsely claiming the Justice Department had identified “significant concerns” that could have affected election results in Georgia and other states.

Clark tried several times to seek authorization from top Justice officials to send the document to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp; Georgia House Speaker David Ralston and Georgia Senate President Pro Tempore Butch Miller at the time, according to the indictment.

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel, which regulates the conduct of lawyers admitted to the bar in Washington, initiated disciplinary proceedings against Clark in July 2022.

When reached for comment, Disciplinary Counsel Hamilton “Bill” Fox said in an email that the group opposes the stay.

“We will explain our reasons while registering our opposition,” he said, declining to comment further.

In a petition filed last year, disciplinary counsel cited the draft letter cited in Monday’s indictment as an example of Clark’s attempts to “engage in dishonest conduct” and “engage in conduct that seriously interferes with the administration of justice.” DC violated the bar rules.

Other attorneys charged in the Fulton County case, such as Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis and Sydney Powell, have been convicted or face disciplinary action from disciplinary committees for their alleged conduct in trying to overturn Trump’s election loss.

Clark is not the first defendant in a Fulton County case to seek a postponement of disciplinary proceedings elsewhere.

John Eastman, who faces nine charges in a Georgia indictment, asked a California judge last week to postpone impeachment proceedings against him, citing “serious” concerns that the government could bring criminal charges against him in Trump’s election case in Washington.

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Trump’s indictment in Washington lists six co-conspirators, and Eastman’s attorney confirmed that his client was most likely “co-conspirator 2” and said his client is innocent.

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