Jeff Clark criminally charged in Georgia election ‘conspiracy’

By Pamela King | 08/15/2023 01:33 PM EDT

“Just because you’re a lawyer doesn’t mean you can break criminal law,” one legal observer said of former President Donald Trump’s top environmental attorney.

Jeffrey Bossert Clark at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Jeffrey Bossert Clark during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on June 28, 2017. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

This story was updated at 8:15 p.m. EDT.

Donald Trump’s top environmental lawyer is facing criminal charges for his alleged participation in a plan to overturn the former president’s loss to Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

Jeffrey Bossert Clark — who was named alongside Trump and other lawyers and administration officials in an indictment released Monday in Fulton County Superior Court in Georgia — could face jail time or lose his law license for his role in questioning Biden’s election win in the Peach State.


Clark, who led the Justice Department’s environment division from 2018 to 2021, is already subject to probes by the District of Columbia Bar and a special congressional committee for his actions in the lead-up to Jan. 6, 2021, the day Trump supporters stormed Capitol Hill in an attempt to stop lawmakers from certifying Biden’s White House victory.

“There’s nothing magical about being a lawyer,” Michael Gerhardt, a constitutional law professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law, said of Clark. “Just because you’re a lawyer doesn’t mean you can break criminal law.”

The Georgia indictment, the fourth against Trump, is the first to explicitly name Clark, who also led DOJ’s civil offices during his last months at the helm of the environment division. Clark is widely believed to be “Co-Conspirator 4” in an indictment released Aug. 1 by Jack Smith, a DOJ special counsel overseeing federal investigations into Trump.

In Georgia, a grand jury has indicted Clark on charges of violating the state Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and criminal attempts to make false statements and writings.

Trump, Clark and other officials “knowingly and willfully joined a conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump,” the Georgia indictment says.

Clark faces charges for allegedly urging other DOJ officials in late 2020 to sign off on a letter questioning the Georgia election results.

Clark’s effort — which included an attempt to push out then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen — fell apart after several high-ranking DOJ officials met with Trump on Jan. 3, 2021, and threatened to resign.

The Center for Renewing America, a conservative think tank where Clark serves as director of litigation, issued a statement critiquing the indictment and its handling by Fani Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County.

“It’s clear Willis aspires to higher office and is using this witch hunt to climb the political ladder,” said Rachel Cauley, a spokesperson for the center.

On its website, the center has requested donations to help with Clark’s legal defense in the Georgia indictment. The center said Clark is being targeted for “serving President Trump honorably and doing his job in 2020.”

The website says: “Please help us stand alongside Jeff and fight against this political witch hunt.”

Aside from Trump and Clark, the Georgia indictment names 17 other co-defendants, including the former president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and ex-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

The indictments against Trump demonstrate that “no one is above the law,” said Kathy Jennings of Delaware and Aaron Ford of Nevada, co-chairs of the Democratic Attorneys General Association.

“Trump and his allies’ behavior is a flashing red light to Americans from every walk of life and political persuasion as we prepare for the 2024 presidential election,” Jennings and Ford said in a joint statement. “Our democracy is strong, and it has worked for more than two centuries because we settle our disputes at the ballot box and in the courts — not with threatening phone calls and violence.”