Former U.S. Department of Justice attorney Jeffrey Clark will face disciplinary proceedings in January 2024 for helping Donald Trump overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. The committee overseeing his professional misconduct case made the decision on Tuesday.
The DC Bar Office of Disciplinary Counsel filed Ethics allegations v. Clark in July 2022. These proceedings had been stayed for several months. Clark requested that the case against him be moved to federal court in October 2022. A federal judge rejected that request in June in a lengthy opinion that found federal courts have no jurisdiction over bar license disputes.
Clark is an environmental lawyer Trump almost knocked to be acting attorney general in his fading battle to retain the presidency. He previously worked as a former deputy attorney general at one DOJ subagency and as acting deputy attorney general at another. His legal complaints center on an unsent draft letter that falsely claimed that the department had identified “significant concerns that may have affected the election results in several states, including the state of Georgia.”
“This statement was false,” wrote disciplinary counsel Hamilton P. Fox, III im Statement of fees filed against Clark. “The Department was not aware of any allegations of voter fraud in Georgia that affected the results of the presidential election.”
The specification of charges stated that Clark violated DC Rules of Professional Conduct 8.4(a) and (c) “by attempting to engage in dishonest conduct by the respondent through the proof of concept letter containing false statements”) and Rules 8.4(a) and (d) (“the defendant attempted to engage in conduct which would seriously prejudice the administration of justice”). The so-called “proof of concept letter” is the draft put together by Clark that would have asked legislatures in states where Trump lost to “send an unauthorized list of electors to Congress,” according to the ethics allegations.
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A pretrial conference on the case was held late last month, and the parties filed briefs in the days that followed. Specifically, Clark filed an extensive discovery request and filed a motion to stay the proceedings until March 2024.
In Tuesday’s orderobtained from Law&Crime, DC. Appeals Court Professional Responsibility Hearing Panel No. 12 Chairman Merril Hirsh denied both of Clark’s motions.
In the disclosure request, Clark requested a “list of cases in which a disciplinary hearing took place in D.C. before related civil or criminal investigations or litigation were completed elsewhere,” along with two additional lists of cases involving attorneys receiving concurrent bar penalties imposed elsewhere, they face separate legal proceedings.
“Defendants in disciplinary matters are only entitled to ‘appropriate disclosure’ under board rules,” Hirsh noted. “Mr. Clark’s motion seeks discovery that the rules do not provide for.”
In denying the motion for a continuance, Hirsh was more critical of the conservative attorney’s motion.
“Although Mr. Clark was free to seek dismissal of the case if he believed the law warranted doing so, nothing prevented him from using the intervening year to prepare his case,” Hirsh wrote. “I am concerned that there appears to be a serial delay – whereby at every stage, after one or another unsuccessful application has delayed the proceedings, Mr Clark is putting forward a new argument (or repeating an old one) as a basis for demanding one further delay.”
Clark’s disciplinary hearing is scheduled for January 9, 10, 16, 17, 24 and 25.
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