DOJ Reportedly Seeks Trump Lawyer’s Testimony, Indicating Legal Services May Have Been Used for a Crime
The Department of Justice is seeking the testimony of one of Donald Trump’s lawyers in its investigation into the former president’s mishandling of classified documents, the New York Times reported Tuesday.
Communications between lawyers and their clients are protected by attorney-client privilege. However, that privilege does not apply to statements or acts that are used to further a crime or conceal a crime.
According to the Times, prosecutors have asked a judge to invoke what’s called the crime-fraud exception, which would allow them to compel the lawyer’s testimony.
A sealed motion filed by prosecutors says the DOJ has reason to believe attorney Evan Corcoran’s legal advice may have been used by Trump or his associates in furtherance of a criminal act(s).
The Times reported:
Federal prosecutors overseeing the investigation into former President Donald J. Trump’s handling of classified documents are seeking to pierce assertions of attorney-client privilege and compel one of his lawyers to answer more questions before a grand jury, according to two people familiar with the matter, adding an aggressive new dimension to the inquiry and underscoring the legal peril facing Mr. Trump.
In May, Corcoran delivered more than 30 documents to the DOJ after it issued a subpoena. That was after Trump’s team handed over more than 200 classified documents earlier in the year.
In June, Christina Bobb, another lawyer for Trump, signed a letter to the DOJ stating no classified material remained at Mar-a-Lago. However, as the August raid showed, that was not the case.
The Times further reported:
Mr. Corcoran recently appeared before a grand jury in Federal District Court in Washington and is believed to have asserted attorney-client privilege on behalf of Mr. Trump in refusing to answer certain questions related to his representation in the documents investigation, according to three people familiar with the matter.
The piece noted it is not clear what crime(s) the DOJ cited when asking Judge Beryl Howell to invoke the crime-fraud exception.
“The push for Mr. Corcoran’s testimony is another sign of the aggressive efforts being made by Jack Smith, the special counsel overseeing the investigations into Mr. Trump, to secure testimony,” the report said. “Mr. Smith is guiding both the investigation into Mr. Trump’s handling of the classified documents and the inquiry into Mr. Trump’s efforts to remain in office after his election defeat in 2020 and how they led to the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol.”
Have a tip we should know? email@example.com