A judge has ruled that Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official under the Trump administration, cannot move his Georgia election subversion case from state to federal court. This ruling is a blow to Clark and other defendants in the Georgia case who have been attempting to transfer their prosecutions to the federal system. Moving to federal court could provide them with more favorable trial conditions or the opportunity to have the criminal charges dropped by invoking immunity protections for government officials.
US District Judge Steve Jones previously rejected a similar request from Mark Meadows, former President Donald Trump’s chief of staff in 2020 and also charged in the Georgia indictment. Trump had been expected to make the same request but surprised many by announcing that he would not seek to move the case to federal court. All defendants in the Georgia case, including Clark, Trump, and Meadows, have pleaded not guilty.
The case involves allegations that after the 2020 election, Trump contacted Clark and urged him to send letters to top officials in states he lost, falsely claiming that the Justice Department had uncovered voting irregularities. Although Clark’s proposals were repeatedly rejected by his superiors, Trump considered appointing him as attorney general to carry out these efforts. The judge ruled that Clark did not meet the evidentiary bar to show that he was acting in his federal capacity, as Trump had brought him into election-related matters.