Jeffrey Clark Broke Lawyer Code of Conduct by Aiding in Trump Election Scheme: Panel

Legal ethics prosecutors accused Jeffrey Clark of engaging in “a coup” within the Justice Department after the 2020 election, going rogue to help Donald Trump reverse his loss.Published Apr. 04, 2024 5:17PM EDT Susan Walsh/Pool/AFP via Getty ImagesJeffrey Clark, Trump’s go-to guy in the Department of Justice turned co-defendant in the Georgia election subversion case, broke at least

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Legal ethics prosecutors accused Jeffrey Clark of engaging in “a coup” within the Justice Department after the 2020 election, going rogue to help Donald Trump reverse his loss.

AJ McDougall

Jeff Clark, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division

Susan Walsh/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Jeffrey Clark, Trump’s go-to guy in the Department of Justice turned co-defendant in the Georgia election subversion case, broke at least one rule of professional conduct by aiding in the former president’s efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss, a D.C. ethics panel found on Thursday.

The preliminary decision by the three-member Board of Responsibility will pave the way for disciplinary measures to be brought against Clark, including possible suspension or disbarment. Disciplinary counsel have indicated they intend to advocate for Clark to lose his law license entirely, according to Politico. Any proposed sanction can be contested by Clark and his team in a final brief, and will have to be approved by the panel in a separate decision that is likely months away.

Clark has been licensed to practice in D.C. since 1997, according to The Washington Post. He faced two legal ethics charges of attempting to engage in dishonest conduct and attempting to interfere with the administration of justice. It was not immediately clear which of the charges the panel had found he had violated.

Over six days of testimony, Clark was accused by ethics investigators in D.C.’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel of engaging in “a coup” at the Department of Justice in the days and weeks that followed the 2020 election, holding meetings with Trump that violated department procedure and cajoling his superiors to issue a letter suggesting that President Joe Biden’s victory had been fraudulent.

Taking the stand, the 56-year-old declined to testify in his own defense, invoking his constitutional right against self-incrimination as investigators peppered him with questions. He argued that “a veritable phalanx of privileges” protected him from having to answer, including attorney-client.

“For whom were you the attorney?” a member of the panel asked Clark at one point.

“For President Trump, the head of the executive branch, the sole head, the unitary head of Article Two, the executive branch of the United States government,” Clark said, according to NBC News, which noted that “typically,” Justice Department employees will say their client is the United States of America.

Clark was indicted last year in Fulton County alongside Trump and 17 others in connection with their efforts to subvert the election result. He has pleaded not guilty to two charges, including violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, known as RICO.

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