U.S. District Judge Steve Jones on Friday denied a bid by Trump co-defendant Jeffrey Clark to move his 2020 Georgia election interference case to federal court.
In a 31-page order Jones ruled that that Clark, a former Department of Justice official, had failed to meet his burden of demonstrating that removal of the prosecution by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is warranted.
Clark, along with former President Trump, is among a total of 19 co-defendants who were indicted last month on racketeering and other charges by a grand jury last month related to attempts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election. The indictment came following a more than two-year investigation by Willis.
The ruling against Clark comes the same day that another of the co-defendants, Atlanta bail bondsman Scott Hall, became the first to plead guilty in the racketeering case, and that Fulton County prosecutors signaled they may soon extend a plea deal to one or both co-defendants headed to trial on October 23—former Trump attorneys Kenneth Chesebro and Sydney Powell—after they’d asked for a speedy trial.
A trial date has not yet been set for the remaining co-defendants.
Jones appeared to signal his skepticism toward Clark’s arguments during the three-hour September 18 hearing on the issue. Jones said he would not accept a sworn statement from Clark as evidence in the case, in lieu of his in-person testimony. Clark’s lawyers had previously filed the 10-page statement outlining their client’s service in the DOJ.
Clark is the second co-defendant whose bid to move his case has been denied by Jones. Former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is appealing Jones’ ruling against moving his case to federal court, presumably where Meadows and Clark both expected a jury pool would be more politically diverse than in Fulton County, which includes the city of Atlanta, and where their trials would not be televised.
On Thursday, Trump said he would not try to move his 2020 Georgia election interference case to federal court, instead agreeing to stand trial in Fulton County.