Former President Donald J. A federal judge has ruled that prosecutors overseeing the investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents can drill through assertions of attorney-client privilege and compel one of his lawyers to answer additional questions before two people familiar with the case. Friday said.
Judge, Beryl A. Howell, in issuing his ruling, found that the government had met the threshold for a special provision of the statute known as the crime-fraud exception. That provision allows lawyers to work around the attorney-client privilege when there is reason to believe that legal advice or legal services have been used in furtherance of a crime.
Since last spring, Mr. Advocate M who appeared on behalf of Trump. The New York Times reported last month that prosecutors had asked Judge Howell to apply the felony-fraud exception to Evan Corcoran’s grand jury testimony. . Mr. Corcoran appeared before a grand jury in recent months, refusing to answer some questions and asserting attorney-client privilege.
Attorney-client privilege is a fundamental legal principle designed to protect private communications between lawyers and those they represent. Judge Howell’s ruling, released under seal, that the crime-fraud exception applies in this case is important because it shows that Mr. The federal judge’s indictment hinges on prosecutors’ contention that Corcoran’s legal work may have been used in criminal activity.
There was judgment As reported earlier via CNN
It’s unclear what criminal prosecutors say may have been done — or who may have done it. But since last year, the judicial department has been investigating Mr. Whether Trump or his associates obstructed justice after he left office and repeatedly demanded the return of government items he took with him from the White House. Including hundreds of documents with classified identities.
Understand the investigation into the Trump documents
Former President Donald J. The Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation into Trump’s handling of classified files after he left office.
Mr. A statement from Trump’s office attacked Judge Howell’s ruling.
“Whenever lawyers target lawyers, it’s usually a good sign that their underlying case is very weak. “If they have a genuine case, there is no need to play corruption games with the Constitution,” the statement said.
“Every American has the right to consult with counsel and have honest discussions — which encourages adherence to the law,” the statement added. “We will fight on this front for the judiciary and all others that affect basic American rights and values.”
Federal prosecutors were still investigating Mr. They subpoenaed classified documents in Trump’s possession — a move that came after he voluntarily turned over preliminary records to the National Archives. Includes nearly 200 classified documents.
In response to the subpoena, Mr. Corcoran met with federal investigators in June and gave them another set of documents, more than 30 of which contained classified information. He then drew up a statement to be presented to the Justice Department by another lawyer, Mr. A “verified search” was conducted at Trump’s club and residence in Florida, Mar-a-Lago, and no classified items were found.
Mr. with the investigators. About three weeks after Corcoran’s meeting, federal prosecutors issued another subpoena — this one for surveillance footage from a camera near a storage room at Mar-a-Lago. Mr. Smith’s office, Mr. At the time the subpoena for the videotapes was served, Mr. His phone call with Trump, a person familiar with the matter says.
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Surveillance footage obtained by subpoena showed at least one Trump aide moving boxes placed in a storage room. That prompted prosecutors to intensify their investigation and seek a search warrant for Mar-a-Lago.
In early August, FBI agents armed with warrants descended on the property and took more than 100 additional classified documents. In an affidavit submitted by the Justice Department to obtain the warrant, it said it had “probable cause to believe that evidence of the obstruction will be discovered during the search.”
Now Mr. Smith, Mr. Having received a subpoena to testify against Corcoran, Mr. Corcoran could appear before the grand jury and answer its questions or invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. He did not respond Friday to messages seeking comment.
The Justice Department’s investigation into the documents surrounding Trump has implicated a wide range of people, from his advisers to former White House officials to his lawyers to employees at Mar-a-Lago. Testimony.
Mr. The cases surrounding Corcoran, like all grand jury matters, are being conducted in sealed submissions and closed-door hearings. Mr. It’s just part of a broader effort by lawyers for Trump and many of his former aides. .
Judge Howell presides over these confidential proceedings as Chief Judge of the Federal District Court in Washington. But he stepped down from that role Friday as part of a normal rotation, replacing him with new Chief Justice James E. Bosberg was appointed.
Mr. The judicial investigation into the Mar-a-Lago documents has taken on a new intensity since Smith took office. Officers were trying to find out what people knew about the contents of the box.
For a time, investigators focused on a particular witness, Waldin Nauta, who worked with Mr. Trump’s closest personal aide. In the camera moving the boxes kept in the storage area, Mr. Nautha was seen. Investigators also interviewed the groundskeeper who helped move the boxes, according to two people in the case.