Judge orders additional testimony from Trump’s lawyer in Mar-a-Lago probe – KGET 17

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal prosecutors investigating the potential mishandling of classified documents at former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate will be able to question Trump’s lawyer again before a grand jury, a judge ruled in a sealed order.

The order will require M. Evan Corcoran to answer additional questions as prosecutors continue their investigation into classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago, as well as potential efforts to obstruct that investigation. The order was described Friday by a person familiar with it, who was not authorized to discuss the sealed proceedings and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

The precise scope of the order, which is expected to be appealed, was not immediately clear. Neither Corcoran nor his attorney returned messages seeking comment, and a spokesman for special counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the investigation, also did not respond to an email about the warrant.

A Trump spokesman said the Trump team “will fight the Justice Department on this front and anyone else who threatens fundamental American rights and values.”

Corcoran appeared before a federal grand jury in Washington investigating the Mar-a-Lago case a few weeks ago, but invoked attorney-client privilege by refusing to answer certain questions. That privilege protects lawyers from being forced to share details of conversations they have with clients with prosecutors.

Prosecutors can circumvent that privilege if they can convince a judge that the lawyer’s services were used in furtherance of the crime — a principle known as the criminal fraud exception. The Justice Department invoked that exception in this case, arguing to Beryl Howell, the outgoing chief judge of the federal court in Washington, DC, that more testimony was needed.

On Friday, Howell issued an order requiring at least some additional testimony before her term as chief justice expires. She is being replaced as chief justice by James “Jeb” Boasberg, a fellow Obama appointee who has served on the federal bench since 2011.

Corcoran is considered relevant to the investigation in part because he drafted a statement to the Justice Department last year in which he claimed Mar-a-Lago conducted a “zealous search” for classified documents in response to a subpoena. However, a few months later, FBI agents searched the house with a warrant and found approximately 100 additional classified documents.

The Justice Department is investigating whether Trump or anyone in his orbit obstructed his efforts to retrieve all classified documents, which include top secret material, from his home.

As chief judge, Boasberg will oversee federal grand juries, including those dealing with Trump matters, in the courthouse and preside over sealed cases like Corcoran’s.

Separately, former Vice President Mike Pence said he would contest a grand jury subpoena seeking to compel him to testify in the special counsel’s investigation on Jan. 6. Pence argued that because he was performing his role as Senate President on Jan. 6 while presiding over a joint session of Congress to certify the election results, he was protected from being forced to address his actions under the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause that protects members of Congress .

It is not clear how the misunderstanding will be resolved.


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