Trump-era Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark’s legal team filed a 39-page special plea in the Fulton County Superior Court on Tuesday demanding Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis dismiss her “massive and grotesque abuse of prosecutorial power” indictment against Clark over his First Amendment right to question the 2020 election due to a lack of personal jurisdiction.
“There is zero allegation or evidence that Mr. Clark directed any purposeful activity into the State of Georgia,” the lawyers wrote. “The inquiry ought to end there. But it gets worse: there are zero specific allegations or evidence that Mr. Clark agreed with any resident defendant to do anything. An arm-waving general and conclusory allegation that all defendants conspired to unlawfully overturn the 2020 election is not sufficient to meet the threshold due process requirements for establishing personal jurisdiction.”
Willis’ attempt to “punish a thought crime with the full penal and coercive power of the State” by indicting Clark, former President Donald Trump, and 17 others, Clark’s lawyers wrote, has forced the U.S. into a constitutional crisis unlike anything this nation has ever seen before.
“So here we are: this District Attorney seeks to imprison the leading presidential candidate of her opposite political party, to the acclaim of those baying for his destruction. She has dragged all of us not just into the outskirts of dangerous constitutional territory but into the maelstrom of a full-blown constitutional collapse,” the special plea states.
Clark’s association with former President Donald Trump, who nominated Clark first as assistant attorney general of the Environment and Natural Resources Division and later as acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Division, made him one of the 19 “co-conspirator” targets in Democrats’ wide-ranging election indictment in Fulton County, Georgia.
“The Indictment rests on a dogmatic premise that the election of President Biden was free of material irregularity and that any thought, expression, or conduct of the Defendants to the contrary was necessarily wrongful and criminal, and thus constituted a massive (but on its face preposterous) Georgia RICO conspiracy,” the attorneys wrote.
Clark specifically came under scrutiny for drafting a letter to Georgia officials shortly after the 2020 election that claimed the Department of Justice had “identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple States, including the State of Georgia.” Clark did not send the letter after his DOJ superiors claimed the Civil Division should play no role in election issues.
In a personal affidavit filed on the same day as the special plea, Clark confirmed that he does not live in Georgia, never sent a letter to Georgia, and never visited the state during his tenure in the Trump administration. He merely made a legal recommendation involving the state.
For the crime of questioning “the Democrat Party’s prevailing creed that there were absolutely no significant or potentially outcome determinative problems in the 2020 election in Georgia or in Fulton County in particular,” Willis charged Clark with multiple crimes such as “alleged postelection interference with the 2020 presidential election in Georgia” even though his letter was never delivered.
Clark found allies in several people, including former Attorney General Ed Meese, who, in a 19-page affidavit, argued that the letter “fit squarely within the privileges discussed above as recognized by Presidents, the Congress, and various courts throughout our history.”
“It also fits squarely within the protections of the Opinion Clause of the Constitution,” Meese wrote, noting that Clark’s case should be moved to federal court.
But even Meese’s word wasn’t enough to call off the “witch hunt.”
A federal judge appointed by former President Barack Obama rejected Clark’s attempt to take his indictment to federal court.
Instead, Clark and his legal team are stuck litigating against a woman who claims that he “joined a political conspiracy” to “unlawfully change the outcome of the election.”
“Using the criminal law to punish opinions or otherwise lawful political activities deviating from a State’s (or really a single County’s) orthodoxy is a feature of dictatorships, and now marks out and mars this District Attorney’s Office,” the lawyers wrote.
Willis’ decision to carry out this indictment, Clark’s legal team continued, shows a blatant disregard for constitutional rights.
“No branch or department of any government, being bound by the First Amendment, may dictate that opinions regarding the election are criminally ‘false,’” the plea states. “Such matters may not be prosecuted in our constitutional Republic. At issue is whether we actually still live in such a Republic.”
Those who have already pleaded guilty in the Georgia case, the lawyers warned, “are stark proof of the abuse” of Willis and her team.
“There was no actual evidence any of them did anything wrong. But each of them faced the risk of lengthy prison terms and financial ruin if they had stood fast in proclaiming their innocence,” the attorneys wrote. “This is because the State said it would take four months to try its entire conspiracy theory with 180 witnesses. Against this hellish prospect, the State has offered to at least four Defendants, in exchange for a guilty plea, zero jail time, first-offender status, and fines worth less than two days of their attorneys’ time.”
Clark’s legal team said the state also wanted defendants to pen an “apology letter” that reminds him of the confessions “extracted from hapless prisoners by infamous Prosecutor General Andrei Vyshinsky in the 1930s Moscow Show Trials, or those extracted by the Red Guards during the 1960s and 1970s struggle sessions of the tyrannical Cultural Revolution in the People’s Republic of China.”
The attorneys said Clark’s fellow defendants were “forced into this predicament.” Their chances to get a fair trial and escape the indictment unscathed using challenges have failed “because the pleading standard for an indictment is so low and because it is supposedly impossible to test before trial the sufficiency of the State’s evidence to support a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt, even when that insufficiency is patent and obvious.”
“In many cases, a defendant’s only remedies for testing the sufficiency of the evidence are a motion for directed verdict or a post-conviction appeal,” the attorneys explained.
They said the “four-to-six month” trial that looms for many of the defendants means any “remedies can be almost purely theoretical.”
“The risks and costs of trial are so grotesquely one-sided as to frighten into capitulation almost any rational actor lacking exceptional fortitude,” the lawyers continued. “Such is the mechanism of tyrannical oppression inflicted by the purposeful design of the State. But it is all monstrously wrong and unconstitutional and should never be permitted in the USA, even if a substantial fraction of our population welcomes the tribal excess involved.”
The legal team demanded that the case against Clark be dismissed “because the Court lacks personal jurisdiction” over him and does not currently allow him to test the sufficiency of the “sprawling, spaghetti-on-the-wall, strained theory of conspiracy.”
“Our country was founded as a refuge from criminal enforcement of religious and political dogmas, but that patrimony now lies in tatters; its fiery destruction stoked by public officials who took oaths to uphold it—and by rabid mainstream media partners,” the filing concludes.