Posted on May 1, 2024

DOJ’s Kristen Clarke Testified She Was Never Arrested. Court Records and Text Messages Indicate She Was

Mary Margaret Olohan, Daily Signal, April 30, 2024

Before becoming one of the Justice Department’s top leaders, Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke was allegedly involved in a violent domestic dispute, according to court documents, records, and text messages—an incident that ended in her arrest and was ultimately expunged. During her Senate confirmation, Clarke specifically denied ever having been arrested for or accused of committing a violent crime.

Clarke was nominated by President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 7, 2021, and later confirmed by the U.S. Senate on May 25, 2021, to lead the DOJ’s “crown jewel,” as former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. described the Civil Rights Division.

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris celebrated Clarke as the first black woman to head the Civil Rights Division, promising she would focus on fighting voter suppression and hate crimes “across the country.”

During her confirmation, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., asked then-nominee Clarke: “Since becoming a legal adult, have you ever been arrested for or accused of committing a violent crime against any person?”

“No,” she responded, according to responses she submitted under oath to “Questions for the Record” from U.S. senators.

Messages as well as records obtained and authenticated by The Daily Signal indicate that Clarke may have been less than forthcoming with this statement.

Clarke’s ex-husband, Reginald Avery, alleged to the American Accountability Foundation’s Tom Jones in 2021 that Clarke attacked him with a knife, deeply slicing his finger to the bone, on the night of July 4, 2006, while they were married and living in Maryland.

According to messages and documents reviewed by The Daily Signal, police arrested Clarke that night. {snip}

Court records obtained by The Daily Signal show that a criminal case against Clarke was initiated in the District Court of Maryland for Prince George’s County, but on Oct. 17, 2006, the Maryland state attorney entered a request of “nolle prosequi” in the case, which effectively dismissed the charge without trial.

Approximately a year-and-a-half later, Clarke sought an “Order for Expungement of Police and Court Records” in the same case.

A document obtained by The Daily Signal shows that the district court granted that order in January 2008. The document specifically orders “expungement of police records pertaining to [Clarke’s] arrest, detention, or confinement” on or about July 5, 2006, by a “law enforcement officer of the Prince George’s County Police.”


Court records show that Avery and Clarke finalized their contentious divorce in 2009. Clarke had served as a trial attorney for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division until April 2006, several months before the incident.

When the July 4, 2006, incident occurred, Clarke was leading the left-wing National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense Fund’s voting and election efforts.


Jones, head of the American Accountability Foundation, began digging into Clarke’s background during her Senate confirmation process. He reached out to Avery as part of his investigation, and text messages between Avery and Jones illustrate the alleged events of the July 4, 2006, incident.

“I was seeing another woman,” Avery shared in the May 2021 text message exchange. “She was angry. Attacked me with a knife. I instinctively grabbed it. As I said earlier, I’m not blameless.”

“That’s the story,” Avery insisted. “That’s what happened. She went to jail.”

Avery confirmed to The Daily Signal that his text conversations with Jones accurately represent what took place that night, including that he did not ultimately press charges and that he was not contacted by federal authorities about the incident. He declined to comment further.

Prince George’s County Police Department records show that the department was called on nine different occasions by someone at Avery’s and Clarke’s Upper Marlboro, Maryland, household between May 2003 and December 2007.

Seven of those calls were for a “threat” or some type of domestic violence, but most were cleared without a report. The July 4, 2006, call was made by “Mr. Reginald” (Avery’s first name) and accompanied by a 760 code, according to a mainframe print-out from Prince George’s County computer-aided dispatch system obtained by The Daily Signal.

That 760 code is the department’s clearance code for “arrest,” the Prince George County Police Department confirmed.

That call was not cleared for four hours, and Avery maintains it was Clarke who was arrested. Clarke has not addressed the matter, though given multiple opportunities to respond.

The DOJ official’s ex-husband also shared with Jones that on the night of the incident, he called 911 due to his injury and the “cops came because [his] finger was cut off.” (Avery clarified to The Daily Signal that the finger was sliced to the bone, not cut off.) Police allegedly decided to arrest Clarke, and Avery said he went to the emergency room in Bowie, Maryland, for the injury. He does not have photos of the injury.

Jones and Avery speculated via 2021 text messages about why Clarke would hide the arrest: “I assume she just thinks she won’t get caught,” Jones queried, to which Avery responded, “Yes, the arrogance has always been there. But I don’t understand lying on a federal application.”

Avery refused to speak to the Senate staffers who reached out to him in 2021, a Senate source familiar with Clarke’s confirmation process told The Daily Signal. Staff felt they could not just sling allegations at Clarke without more evidence, the source said, but Cotton’s question to Clarke about violent crime was a direct result of the numerous Republican judiciary committee staff discussions surrounding Clarke, Jones’ findings, and the July 4, 2006, incident.

Jones questioned why Avery’s story was not thoroughly examined during the Senate’s review of Clarke’s record and why Clarke’s ex-husband was never contacted by federal officials during the confirmation process.

Jones also published some of his findings online, in which he noted that “congressional staff” confirmed that Avery had never been contacted by the FBI. The FBI declined to comment on the matter to The Daily Signal.


Clarke did face scrutiny during her nomination process for remarks and social media posts made before her DOJ role, such as calling Alliance Defending Freedom a “hate group” and Liberty University a “fundamentalist Christian school.” She also said that those protesting Dr. Anthony Fauci should be “publicly identified and named, barred from treatment at any public hospital if/when they fall ill and denied coverage under their insurance.”


Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who now heads the Tucker Carlson Network, ran multiple segments highlighting Clarke’s comments about racial superiority as well as her role in organizing a 1994 event while at Harvard University that hosted a professor who accused Jews of persecuting black people. Clarke, who was the president of Harvard’s Black Students Association, has since said it “was a mistake” to host the professor.