Days after Donald Trump‘s lawyer Steven Sadow said Trump would no longer be seeking to remove his case to federal court from Fulton County, GA, Trump co-defendant Jeff Clark‘s bid to move his own case to federal court was rejected.
Former federal prosecutor and legal commentator Renato Mariotti said the decision to reject Clark’s removal attempt was hardly a surprise, explaining that Clark’s argument for removal was “very weak.”
At the time of the alleged election fraud being prosecuted by Fulton County DA Fani Willis, Clark was the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Division Chief, Mariotti explains, giving him “no role in supervising local elections and the certification of electors.”
[NOTE: The DOJ’s Civil Division responsibilities are broad and include “ensuring the Federal Government speaks with one voice in its view of the law; preserving the intent of Congress; advancing the credibility of the government before the courts; and protecting the public fisc (the U.S. Treasury).”]
Not surprising. Jeff Clark’s motion was very weak.— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) September 29, 2023
As the DOJ’s Civil Division Chief, he had no role in supervising local elections and the certification of electors. He didn’t take the stand because he couldn’t possibly justify his attempt to abuse his office. https://t.co/Hdrjr7DDJL
Clark’s filing to have his case removed stated that “he was a high-ranking U.S. Justice Department official at all relevant times applicable to the Fulton County Action and the allegations therein relate directly to his work at the Justice Department as well as with the former President of the United States.”
But evidently as far as Georgia judges are concerned, being a “high ranking U.S. Justice Department official” doesn’t mean all actions taken while wearing that title are taken under the umbrella of authority the position confers. Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows found out the same thing when his removal request was rejected, as the alleged election interference he stands accused of perpetrating was found not to be a part of his job description.
The failure to get his case removed suddenly has greater implications for Clark — and presumably the rest of the co-defendants — after the announcement that Trump co-defendant Scott Hall has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in Georgia.
Hall, a Georgia bail bondsman who was facing seven charges including a RICO violation and conspiring to steal sensitive election data, pled guilty to lesser charges and escaped jail time. The expectation surrounding his cooperation is that Hall will be the first defendant to “flip” on others up the chain of the alleged conspiracy.
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance speculates that given Hall’s direct contacts among the other co-defendants, he is most likely to provide information to the prosecution about the actions of Jeff Clark and attorney Sidney Powell.