National Security

Special counsel alleges crime to compel testimony from Trump lawyer

The Justice Department is looking to compel an attorney for former President Trump to testify before a grand jury in the case involving the possible mishandling of classified documents, seeking to pierce attorney-client privilege by contending he may have aided in a crime.

Justice Department prosecutors wish to speak with Trump attorney Evan Corcoran, multiple outlets reported late Tuesday, seeking approval from a judge in a sealed filing to invoke the crime-fraud exception.

The rare move to push for such cooperation from an attorney can only be ignited when legal advice was given in furtherance of a crime, a key issue for prosecutors as they investigate an obstruction of justice charge in connection with their search of Mar-a-Lago.

Corcoran did not immediately respond to request for comment, nor did a spokesman for the special counsel. 

The investigation was launched after a months-long battle to recover presidential records from Trump’s Florida home, when an initial batch of returned documents included nearly 200 documents with classified markings.

Corcoran would later turn over more than 30 documents to prosecutors following a subpoena, later drafting an attestation he handed to colleague Christina Bobb to sign indicating that all remaining classified records had been returned.

Corcoran appeared before a grand jury last month, and it’s not clear what matters the Justice Department wishes to speak to him about where he may have asserted he was unable to do so due to attorney-client privilege.

The matter is set to be decided by Judge Beryl Howell, the chief judge for the U.S. District Court for D.C., who has largely sided with the Justice Department on matters of privilege in the Mar-a-Lago case.

Trump’s team in January turned over an additional classified record and a laptop to the Justice Department amid ongoing efforts to determine whether all classified records at Mar-a-Lago have been returned.

Tags Beryl Howell classified documents Donald Trump Justice Department

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