Trump Lawyer Must Testify—Despite Attorney-Client Privilege—Judge Rules


A federal District Court judge ruled Friday an attorney representing former President Donald Trump must provide additional testimony in the Department of Justice’s investigation into the former president’s handling of classified documents and potential obstruction of justice, multiple outlets reported, providing prosecutors with what could be a key witness into the months-long probe.

Washington D.C. District Court Beryl Howell ruled in an order under seal federal prosecutors met the requirements to work around attorney-client privilege, meeting the so-called crime-fraud exception, three sources familiar with the matter separately told the New York Times and CNN

That exception, which special counsel Jack Smith had reportedly asked for last month, requires Trump attorney Evan Corcoran to testify in the probe.

Prosecutors have been investigating whether Trump or members of his team obstructed justice when they failed to comply with a subpoena issued last year to turn over all classified documents from his time as president—Trump’s attorneys had returned a tranche of documents last summer, though an FBI raid in August found more the former president hadn’t turned over.

The DOJ launched its investigation into whether Trump violated several federal statutes, including the Espionage Act, last August after FBI officials recovered hundreds of records, including boxes that were labeled “top secret,” from Mar-A-Lago, following a tip that Trump had more classified documents in his possession (Trump’s attorneys had previously turned over boxes of federal records on several occasions last year). Trump repeatedly insisted the documents were unclassified, that he did not violate federal law and that the probe into the documents was a Democrat-led “witch hunt.” After the FBI’s raid in August, however, federal prosecutors said Trump likely still held more documents. Howell then ordered Trump’s attorneys to conduct an additional search for more documents, which reportedly resulted in two more classified documents being found in a storage unit in December. Trump’s legal team turned over a new tranche of classified documents to the Department of Justice in December and January.

Prosecutors also asked Howell in December to hold Trump in contempt of court for failing to comply with a grand jury subpoena issued in May for Trump to return all classified documents, though the Washington Post reported days later Howell decided not to hold him in contempt.

Whether Trump will face charges—a decision that would be made by special counsel Jack Smith, who was appointed in November by Attorney General Merrick Garland after Trump launched his 2024 presidential campaign. Garland said at the time Trump’s announcement to run for president in 2024 led him to conclude a special counsel overseeing “in the public interest.”

Trump attorney ordered to testify before grand jury investigating former president (CNN)

Judge Rules Trump Lawyer Must Testify in Documents Inquiry (New York Times)

Trump Lawyers Turned Over More Classified Materials And A Laptop To DOJ, Reports Say (Forbes)

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