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Jeffrey Clarke, former Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division
U.S. District Judge Steve Jones’ ruling is the latest blow to Georgia defendants who are trying to transfer their state cases to the federal system, where they could get more favorable trial conditions or increase their chances of dropping criminal charges altogether. Immunity protection for US government officials.
Jones has already rejected a similar claim Mark MeadowsThe former chief of staff to President Donald Trump in 2020 was also charged in the Georgia indictment.
Trump was expected to make the same request, but made a surprise announcement on Thursday He won’t.
All defendants in the Georgia case — including Clark, Trump and Meadows — have pleaded not guilty.
After the 2020 election, Trump contacted Clarke who wanted to send letters to top officials in states Trump lost, falsely claiming the Justice Department had found massive voting irregularities and pressuring them to consider interfering with the results, according to two congressional reports. A recent CNN report, and allegations of state and federal election tampering.
At the time, Clarke was acting assistant attorney general and head of the department’s civil division, which does not handle election investigations, and her bosses repeatedly rejected her proposals and told her the fraud claims were baseless. Nevertheless, Trump considered installing him as attorney general so he could send the letters, but backed off after senior Justice Department officials threatened mass resignations.
Clarke’s attorneys argued at the court hearing before Jones that Clarke was never rude and that he was acting in his federal capacity when Trump brought him up on election-related matters.
Jones said Friday that Clark had not met the evidentiary bar.
“The Court has no doubt that the President has the power to reconstitute [the assistant attorney general’s] duties, but the evidence does not support that the President restructured the Clerk’s duties to include election investigations or oversight, or reassigned the Clerk to civil rights or criminal divisions dealing with state elections,” Jones wrote.
This story has been updated with additional details.