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D.C. Bar files ethics charges against ex-DOJ lawyer Jeffrey Clark

The D.C. Bar’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel alleged Clark made false statements and “seriously interfered with the administration of justice.”

An image of Jeffrey Clark is seen on a screen during a Jan. 6 select committee hearing last month. (Mandel Ngan/Pool/Reuters)
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Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department assistant attorney general who worked with President Donald Trump in his attempt to overturn the 2020 election results, was charged Friday with ethics violations by the top licensing organization for attorneys practicing in the nation’s capital.

The D.C. Bar’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel alleged that Clark engaged in dishonest conduct when he drafted a letter he wanted the Justice Department to send to Georgia state officials demanding the state legislature call a special session to examine votes in the presidential election.

The Disciplinary Counsel charged Clark with dishonest conduct and sending a letter that contained false statements, alleging that Clark engaged in conduct that would “seriously interfere with the administration of justice.”

In the letter, Clark wrote to Georgia officials that the Justice Department “identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple States, including the State of Georgia.” The statement was false, according to the Disciplinary Counsel, which noted that Justice Department officials were not aware of any allegations of election fraud in Georgia that would have affected the results of the presidential election.

Clark emailed the “Proof of Concept” letter on Dec. 28, 2020 to acting deputy attorney general Richard Donoghue and acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen.

Rachel Semmel, a spokeswoman from the Center for Renewing America, where Clark is a senior fellow, said in a statement: “This is the latest attack on the legal qualifications of one of the only lawyers at the DOJ who had the interests of the American people at heart. Jeff Clark is an American hero and the media sure seems to enjoy being the press secretary for the J6 committee.”

The D.C. Bar’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel is an arm of the D.C. Court of Appeals that governs and sets rules for lawyers licensed to practice in the nation’s capital. The counsel investigates misconduct allegations against lawyers who have licenses to practice in the District, and can file disciplinary charges against attorneys found to have engaged in unethical conduct. If charges are substantiated, the counsel can recommend an attorney’s license in the District be suspended, or in rare cases, prohibit them from practicing law in the city, which is known as disbarment. Discipline is ultimately decided by judges on the Court of Appeals.

Clark has been licensed to practice in the District since 1997, according to the 10-page filing from the Counsel.

Clark has 20 days to respond to the Counsel’s allegations or request an extension. Clark then will be allowed to defend himself against the allegations at disciplinary hearings. Following the hearings, the Counsel will send recommendations to the D.C. Court of Appeals regarding its findings.

Last month, the same disciplinary group filed ethics charges against Rudy Giuliani, the former president’s most prominent attorney, accusing him of pushing false vote-fraud claims about the 2020 election.

In 2019, the D.C. Court of Appeals disbarred Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, after Manafort was convicted of obstruction of justice and conspiracy. Manafort, who was admitted to the D.C. bar in 1979, pleaded guilty to the charges in U.S. District Court in Washington. He was also convicted in Alexandria federal court of eight bank- and tax-fraud charges stemming from millions he made in Ukraine and his attempts to get loans when that funding dried up. He was sentenced to 7½ years in prison for both convictions.

Earlier this year, following hearings last year, the Disciplinary Counsel determined former federal prosecutor Amanda Haines withheld evidence from defense attorneys during the 2010 trial of the man charged with the murder of slain Washington intern Chandra Levy. The counsel recommended to the Court of Appeals that Haines be suspended from practicing law in the District.