04/14/2024

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Left: Jeffrey Clark during his bar disciplinary hearings; Right: Jeffrey Clark in his Department of Justice profile photo

Jeffrey Clark repeatedly invokes his Fifth Amendment right

Remaining: Jeffrey Clark for the duration of his bar disciplinary hearings on March 27, 2024 (D.C. Bar Place of work of Disciplinary Counsel) Proper: Jeffrey Clark in his DOJ profile photo (U.S. Division of Justice)

Former U.S. Department of Justice attorney Jeffrey Clark regularly invoked his Fifth Modification appropriate to continue to be silent throughout a Wednesday disbarment hearing in the nation’s capital.

Clark briefly testified throughout disciplinary hearings wherever his legislation license is on the line over his attempts to assistance Donald Trump overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. The proceedings in the case towards the attorney are prolonged delayed — the D.C. Bar Workplace of Disciplinary Counsel submitted ethics charges towards him in July 2022.

When posed quite a few inquiries by disciplinary counsel Hamilton Fox III, the pro-Trump law firm invoked his constitutional correct to keep on being silent — and usually cited a host of other privileges, at times on the information of counsel, in order to refrain from providing comprehensive responses.

“Mr. Fox, the identical respond to,” Clark replied in response to a number of thoughts. “The Fifth Amendment privilege at this time. The govt privilege. The law enforcement privilege. The deliberative method privilege and lawyer-customer privilege.”

Clark is an environmental attorney whom Trump approximately tapped to be performing legal professional common in his scramble to retain the presidency immediately after getting rid of to Joe Biden in the 2020 election. He also beforehand labored as an assistant legal professional normal at one particular sub-agency inside of the DOJ and as an performing assistant attorney typical in just a further.

On Wednesday, peppered with problem right after dilemma by Fox, Clark invoked the Fifth Amendment in different iterations. And the contents of the inquiries did not genuinely appear to subject a lot.

Requested when he initially met Trump, for instance, he mentioned: “I will plead the Fifth.”

And in some cases, he even had fun with his inventory response of remaining silent and asserting privilege immediately after privilege.

“A veritable phalanx of privileges,” Clark joked.

The bar prices he faces are targeted on an unsent draft letter falsely proclaiming the department “identified substantial considerations that may perhaps have impacted the final result of the election in multiple states, which includes the point out of Georgia.”

The specification of fees explained that Clark violated D.C. Policies of Expert Conduct 8.4(a) and (c) (“in that respondent attempted to interact in conduct involving dishonesty, by sending the evidence of idea letter that contains wrong statements”) and Principles 8.4(a) and (d) (“in that respondent tried to have interaction in perform that would critically interfere with the administration of justice”). The so-called “proof of thought letter” is the draft Clark compiled that would have urged legislatures in states where Trump lost to “send an unauthorized slate of electors to Congress,” in accordance to the prices.

Discovered as a “witness” for the duration of the hearing livestreamed on Zoom, Clark’s selection to plead the Fifth Modification can be viewed by way of the prism of his authorized jeopardy in Fulton County, Ga, wherever he is one particular of the co-defendants in the racketeering (RICO) and election subversion scenario from his former boss.

Notably, Clark is also an integral part of unique counsel Jack Smith’s D.C.-primarily based scenario against the 45th president — and last thirty day period sought to delay his bar hearings over developments in Trump’s circumstance.

That most current effort — not like numerous before dilatory tactics undertaken by Clark months and even yrs in the past — did not pan out.

Trump, even so, injected himself into Clark’s proceedings — with the ex-president’s attorneys, in a letter, instructing the previous DOJ law firm “to retain President Donald Trump’s government privilege and other related privileges, which include law enforcement privilege, legal professional customer privilege, and deliberative process privilege.”

Pleading the Fifth Amendment is nothing new for Clark — he invoked his constitutional appropriate in excess of 100 instances in February 2022 when deposed by investigators for the House Jan. 6 Committee.

Clark’s behavior on Wednesday, even though not totally illuminating, did attract interest and inevitably led to at least a person substantive solution.

“Mr. Clark, you asserted a quantity of periods the lawyer-client privilege,” D.C. Bar Committeewoman Patricia Matthews commenced. “For whom have been you the legal professional?”

To which Clark replied: “For President Trump, the head of the executive branch, the sole head, the unitary head of Article Two, the government branch of the United States government.”

“So, in the course of this complete process, that was your shopper?” Matthews attempted to comply with up.

Clark’s lawyer, Harry MacDougald, interjected and advised his consumer to, once yet again, invoke the Fifth Modification.

The pro-Trump law firm then requested the committeewoman to repeat her dilemma, which she did.

Clark replied: “So, I supplied an answer in this space. But I concur with my counsel that as to any inquiry as to how the privilege was formed, and many others. —”

Matthews took the possibility to interject and then questioned her concern a 3rd time.

Once more Clark replied: “I would answer to that by invoking the same grouping of privileges, with all owing respect, the Fifth Amendment privilege at this time. The government privilege. Legislation enforcement privilege. Deliberative procedure privilege and the lawyer-shopper privilege.”

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