September 25, 2023

FORESHADOW: Trump’s co-defendants are struggling in Georgia

Defendants in the Georgia RICO case are filing their motions and challenges to the charges, so far with very little success.

Two of the newest efforts in the Georgia RICO case, by two of Donald Trump’s co-defendants, Kenneth Chesebro and Jeffrey Clark, seem doomed to failure and suggest that the defendants are already resorting to desperate measures — though most of the accused don’t even have a trial date yet.

Jeffrey Clark was an environmental official in the U.S. Department of Justice when he was accused of making false statements to further Trump’s false claims of election fraud.

Now, he wants his case moved to federal court and is making the claim that he should be able to do so because he was acting in the capacity of his job when he carried out those acts.

Now, co-defendant and former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has already made this effort and failed, but Clark seems to be setting himself up for an even simpler and quicker denial than Meadows earned.

He waived his right to be at his Monday hearing and instead tried to submit a written statement — only for the judge to initially reject that as evidence, along with portions of an affidavit from a former Attorney general.

Unfortunately for Clark, he didn’t enter much else in the way of evidence, and though the judge later indicated he would allow some of the documents to be submitted, that leaves very little evidence in the defendant’s favor for moving the case.

“When removing a case to federal court, the defendant—Clark—bears the burden of showing that he acted under color of federal office and that he can raise a ‘colorable federal defense,’” explains LawFare’s Anna Bower, and it seems likely he fell short of doing so.

Meanwhile, Chesebro, an attorney who is accused of orchestrating the fake elector scheme in Georgia — and who is one of two defendants who has succeeded in separating their cases from the mass (though the two, he and Sidney Powell, will be tried together) — is challenging the allegations against him wholesale.

He argued in a new filing that actually, the fake electors were not fake at all.

Instead, he insists, they were “duly elected and qualified,” despite that Georgia, like other U.S. states, picks its real electors based on the desires of the voters as shown at the polls.

In fact, he makes contradictory claims in his filing, as reported by The Messenger:

“But the Republican elector slate was qualified and elected by the Republican Party. Further, the Republican electors did not purport to be certified or ascertained.”

Yet, those individuals signed documents claiming to be the rightful and truly selected electors for the state.

It remains to be seen how the judge will handle this claim, but, especially since at least 8 of the fake electors are cooperating with the investigation, it doesn’t seem like a likely escape route.

Jury selection could always change outcomes — and perhaps the defendants will bring better cases in court.

Chesebro and Powell start their trial before the end of October. Currently, though, their filings are looking more desperate than hopeful.

Stephanie Bazzle

Steph Bazzle is a news writer who covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph. Sign up for all of her stories to be delivered to your inbox here: