Trump DOJ official Jeffrey Clark urges judge to reject March 2024 trial date in Georgia case
By Sara Murray, CNN
Updated 9:59 PM EDT, Thu August 17, 2023
Jeffrey Clark, then-Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division, speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, on September 14, 2020.Susan Walsh/APCNN —
Former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark – one of the 18 co-defendants indicted alongside Donald Trump in a sweeping racketeering case in Georgia – asked a judge Thursday to reject the Fulton County district attorney’s proposed March 2024 trial date, according to a new court filing.
Clark’s attorney said the schedule proposed by District Attorney Fani Willis “could be interpreted as an attempt to stake out a place at the head of the line of prosecutors seeking the ‘prize’ of trying the former President before the 2024 presidential election.”
Clark’s attorney slammed Willis, an elected Democrat, for prematurely proposing a trial date as well as several dates for pre-trial proceedings.
“To our knowledge, not one of the 19 defendants named in the indictment has been served with any warrant, taken into custody, had a first appearance, or been arraigned, or waived arraignment,” Clark’s attorney Harry W. MacDougald wrote.
“Since the District Attorney’s Office made no attempt to confer with opposing counsel for any of the 19 Defendants before filing its Motion, it has no earthly idea whether any of the proposed dates fit the calendars of any, much less all of the dozens of busy attorneys who will be involved in representing the Defendants,” MacDougald added.
Willis has given the 19 defendants in the case until August 25 to voluntarily surrender.
Clark has been charged with one count of violating Georgia’ racketeering law and one count of criminal attempt to commit false statements and writings. He has denied wrongdoing.
As CNN previously reported, Clark drafted a letter, which was ultimately never sent, promoting false claims of voting irregularities and urged Georgia lawmakers to consider throwing out Joe Biden’s legitimate electors. The draft letter urged top Georgia officials to convene the state legislature in a special session to evaluate supposed “irregularities” in the 2020 election.
Clark also lobbied Trump to make him the acting attorney general so he could send the letter and have the Justice Department intervene in the Georgia election but the former president decided not to put Clark in charge after other senior Justice Department officials threatened to resign.
CNN’s Tierney Sneed and Evan Perez contributed to this report.