Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

Election denier who Trump wanted to take over DOJ invokes the 5th in disbarment hearing

By 37ci3 Mar28,2024



WASHINGTON — The environmental lawyer who Donald Trump wants to take over the Justice Department days before the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol repeatedly asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during a hearing Tuesday.

Geoffrey ClarkeA former civilian attorney at the Department of Justice with no criminal law experience wanted to investigate a conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was rigged, including through smart thermostats. Hours before the attack on January 6, 2021, Trump nearly tapped Clark as attorney general, but backed off when Justice Department officials threatened mass resignations.

Federal authorities searched for Clark is home in June 2022, and he now faces criminal charges in a state racketeering case against Trump and others in Georgia. Clark surrendered In August, he turned himself in to the authorities and pleaded guilty. That too an unindicted conspirator Nhe 4 by special counsel Jack Smith in the federal election interference suit against Trump.

Clark testified briefly during a disciplinary hearing this week before the Ad Hoc Hearing Committee of the D.C. Board of Professional Responsibility, which is deciding whether to lose his law license for his involvement in efforts to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss. Such was the case has started 2022 by the DC Bar’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel and has been in litigation for nearly two years.

Before Clark’s testimony, his attorney said he wanted to avoid having to repeatedly defend his Fifth Amendment rights and “being on MSNBC for no good reason.”

After beginning his testimony, Clark repeatedly asserted his Fifth Amendment right, as well as the law enforcement privilege, due process, and attorney-client privilege.

Patricia Matthews, a member of the three-judge panel hearing the case, asked Clark who her client was as she claimed the attorney-client privilege: “Whose attorney were you?” he asked.

“For President Trump, the head of the executive branch, the sole head, is the unitary head of Article 2, the executive branch of the United States government,” Clark said. (Typically, Justice Department officials say their client is the United States of America, not a specific president.)

Clark’s attorney intervened when Matthews asked a follow-up question.

Earlier in the morning, the panel heard testimony from former Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen, whom Trump proposed to replace Clark. Rosen testified that he recalled telling Donald Trump he could have any Justice Department leadership he wanted, but that it “wouldn’t change the facts” of the election.

Rosen testified that Clark wanted to investigate matters that were “out of his lane” and that, in retrospect, “Mr. “Clark was very unpredictable in the period leading up to the attack on January 6.” Clark, Rosen testified, “had read things on the Internet.” Rosen said that for a while, giving Clark some information about the Justice Department’s efforts to investigate some of the conspiracy theories that Clark believed could help Clark “get off the sidelines, if you will.”

Richard Donoghue, the No. 2 Justice Department official at the time, said Clark had a “way to push the boundaries, get out of his own lane.” Donoghue testified for home January 6 Committee he told Clark during an hours-long standoff in the Oval Office on January 3, 2021, emphasizing Clark’s lack of criminal or electoral experience: “You’re an environmental lawyer. “If you go back to your office, we will call you when there is an oil leak.”

Rosen testified at Wednesday’s hearing about the Jan. 3 meeting, saying he and other attorneys in the room “all said they would be obligated to resign in some sense” if Trump named Clark as acting attorney general.

The threat of mass resignations at the Justice Department ultimately helped convince Trump to back off his plan to nominate Clark, several lawyers in the room testified.

On Wednesday, Clark’s defense team called Susie Voyles, a Republican politician and Trump representative who has been accused of voter fraud in 2020 in Georgia. investigated and fired by government agencies. Voyles testified that he still suspects voter fraud in Georgia and talked about how he believes voting machines work, adding, “I’m not a very technical person.”

Formerly the disciplinary board for the DC Bar recommendation Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has lost his law license, writing that Giuliani’s “effort to undermine the integrity of the 2020 presidential election is helping to destabilize our democracy” and that his “malicious and baseless allegations are causing lasting damage.”



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By 37ci3

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