Courts order Trump attorney to turn over documents plausible classified documents proving crimes
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., on Thursday ordered an attorney for former President Donald Trump to provide documents to prosecutors investigating Trump’s holding of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. The judges upheld an order issued Friday by U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in which she agreed with prosecutors that the documents in question provided “prima facie” evidence “that the former president committed criminal offenses,” ABC News and The New York Times report.
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Howell’s order opened the way for Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office to use the “crime fraud” exception for attorney-client secrecy and force Trump attorney M. Evan Corcoran to file notes, transcripts of recordings and invoices related to to hand over his work for Trump on the documents case, The Washington Post reports, citing people familiar with the matter. Those documents show that his services may have been used to hinder the government’s efforts to retrieve top secret and other secret documents After adds.
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Corcocan is also expected to testify before the grand jury again on Friday, ABC News reports. In his earlier testimony earlier this year, Corcocan had invoked attorney-client privilege to exclude discussing certain topics.
After Trump’s team turned over boxes of improperly kept documents to the National Archives, including classified documents, in January 2022, the Justice Department issued a subpoena in May demanding all other classified documents in Trump’s possession. In early June, Justice Department officials visited Mar-a-Lago and Trump’s team turned over another 30 classified documents and a signed statement that a “diligent search” by Trump’s club showed he had no more classified files.
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Trump attorney Christina Bobb told investigators last fall — after the FBI found dozens of additional classified and top-secret documents in Mar-a-Lago during an Aug. 8 search — that Corcoran drafted the false statement and asked her to sign it. Smith’s team wants to know what steps Corcoran took to determine that there were no more classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, what Trump knew about the signed certification, and what he and Trump discussed in a June 24 phone call about the Justice Department demands for surveillance footage from Mar-a-Lago, ABC News reports.
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The appeals court ruling was a major victory for the Justice Department, but it “left open a lingering threat to the administration’s case,” allowing Trump’s appeal of Howell’s ruling to proceed even as prosecutors accessed Corcoran’s information, the Time reports. “That move opened up the possibility that if the appeals court – or the Supreme Court – ultimately ruled that the government’s arguments about the crime-fraud exception were wrong, prosecutors would be barred from using the information,” which would be “deadly damaging.” could be” for the government’s cause. The briefing for the appeal is expected in May.