An Obama-appointed judge may have made all the difference for a Trump co-defendant whose attempt to relocate the Georgia case to federal jurisdiction was squashed over “vague and uncertain assertions.”
Former Assistant Attorney General Jeff Clark was counted as one among the 18 co-defendants to former President Donald Trump named in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s (D) RICO indictment related to the 2020 presidential election.
On Friday, his attempt to have his case moved to a potentially more favorable court at the federal level as opposed to the perceived partisan halls of the Fulton County, Georgia justice system was met with a resounding no from United States District Judge for the Northern District of Georgia Steve Jones, appointed in 2011 by then-President Barack Obama.
“The Court concludes that Clark has not submitted evidence to meet his burden to show that his actions were causally related to his federal office.” wrote Jones in his ruling.
On Dec. 28, 2020, Clark had drafted a letter addressed to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) that stated in part that while “investigating various irregularities in the 2020 election for President of the United States,” the DOJ “…identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple States, including the State of Georgia.”
That letter had been presented to his superiors, Jeff Rosen and Richard Donoghue, then-acting attorney general and then-acting deputy attorney general respectively, prior to a meeting between those parties, Trump, and “six other senior administration lawyers from DOJ and the White House,” court documents indicated.
“Other than his counsel’s own vague and uncertain assertions, the Court has no evidence that the President directed Clark to work on election-related matters generally or to write the December 28 letter to the Georgia State Officials on their election procedures,” the ruling from Jones asserted.
“No evidence in the Record definitively shows that the President directed Clark to write the letter,” the judge noted before adding, “Instead, the evidence before this Court does not show the President’s involvement in this letter specifically until the January 3 meeting where the President decided not to send it to the Georgia officials.”
The quibbling over whether or not Clark was acting in his capacity for the DOJ was not the first time that he had found himself steamrolled by the justice system, as in 2022 he recounted how the FBI had raided his home and dragged him out into the street as part of the Jan. 6 committee’s fruitless efforts to pin responsibility for the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Trump.
Speaking with then-Fox News host Tucker Carlson, the former official said, “Yeah, I think this is highly politicized and it’s also part, Tucker if you didn’t know it, of a nationwide effort. There were multiple states where multiple people were roughly simultaneously raided for their electronic devices. And that obviously requires a high level of coordination.”
“I just think we’re living in an era that I don’t recognize and increasingly, Tucker, I don’t recognize the country anymore with these Stasi-like things happening,” added Clark.
Preceding Clark’s effort, Mark Meadows, former chief of staff to Trump, had faced a similar ruling for his attempt to relocate the case to the federal level. An appeal brought before the 11th Circuit Court was slated as next to consider whether or not the jurisdiction would hold, and ultimately would determine whether or not their chances at a fair trial remained.
A report from The Federalist indicated, “In both Meadows and Clark’s cases, Judge Jones asked whether they were being charged for an act ‘causally connected’ to their federal office. But as Meadows’ detailed in his opening brief to the 11th Circuit, Congress in 2011 amended § 1442(a), replacing the ‘for any act’ standard for removal with ‘for or relating to any act,’ taken as a federal officer.”
Meadows’s case went on that this change “displaced the ‘causal connection’ test courts had previously applied and ‘broadened federal officer removal to actions, not just causal connected, but alternatively connected or associated, with acts under color of federal office.'”
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