Appeals court rules Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran must testify in special counsel documents investigation

An appeals court on Wednesday rejected an attempt by lawyers for former President Donald Trump to bar Trump’s lawyer, Evan Corcoran, from testifying and handing over records to Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team investigating on Trump’s handling of classified records after leaving the White House, according to court records. .

The three-judge panel of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled with extraordinary speed against the stay request of Trump’s lawyers, who sought to block an order last Friday from the Chief District Court Judge of DC, which determined that the government had made a prima facie case that Corcoran’s legal services were likely used by Trump in the prosecution of a crime.

Corcoran was expected to testify as early as Friday, sources said.

DC District Judge Beryl Howell ruled that prosecutors with Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office had ‘shown on their face that the former president committed criminal offences,’ according to sources who described her order of Friday, and that the lawyer-client privileges invoked by two of them his lawyers, Corcoran and Jennifer Little, could therefore be breached.

Sources familiar with the matter described to ABC New in greater detail the six topics Corcoran was ordered by Judge Howell to testify about, on which he had previously sought to assert solicitor-client privilege.

The subjects say Smith focused on Trump’s actions surrounding his response to a May 11 DOJ subpoena that sought all remaining classified documents in his possession – which investigators have described as key to the alleged “plan of Trump to obstruct the investigation, sources said. .

ABC News reported exclusively on Tuesday that Smith believes Trump intentionally and deliberately misled his own attorneys about Trump’s retention of classified documents after leaving office, according to sources who described the piercing judge’s sealed decision. Corcoran’s claims of privilege.

According to sources familiar with the matter, Smith wants information from Corcoran as to whether Trump or anyone else in his employ was aware of the signed certification that was drafted by Corcoran and signed by Trump’s attorney, Christina. Bobb, then submitted in response to the DOJ’s May 11 subpoena seeking any remaining documents with classified marks in Trump’s possession. This certification was later discovered to be false, prompting the court-authorized search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in which FBI investigators recovered more than 100 classified documents – including some located in the personal office. of Trump, according to previously released court documents. .

Evan Corcoran, attorney for former President Donald Trump, leaves federal court in West Palm Beach, Florida on September 1, 2022.

Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Smith’s investigators specifically want to ask Corcoran whether Trump was aware of the statements in the certification, which asserted that a “diligent search” of Mar-a-Lago had been conducted, and whether Trump approved of it being provided to the government. , sources familiar with said the record.

Corcoran was ordered to detail steps it took to determine where documents responding to the DOJ’s May subpoena may have been located, sources said. He was also ordered to testify as to why he believed all documents bearing classification marks were kept in the storage room at Mar-a-Lago, as he allegedly confirmed to a senior government official. DOJ when investigators visited the estate in June last year.

Investigators have sought to question Corcoran about those involved in choosing Bobb as the designated records repository for documents Trump took with him after he left the White House, and about any communications he exchanged with Bobb in part of his selection, according to sources familiar with the filing.

Investigators also want Corcoran to tell them what he discussed with Trump in a June 24 phone call the same day the Trump Organization received a second grand jury subpoena demanding surveillance footage of Mar- a-Lago that would show whether anyone moved boxes in and out of the storage room, which Trump’s team previously barred investigators from digging during their visit to the estate earlier this month, the sources said. .

According to sources, Howell’s order piercing attorney-client privilege on this matter said the government characterized the conversation as advancing “a different stage” of Trump’s “ongoing plan” to prevent the government from recovering all Mar-a-Lago’s classified documents. .

“There is no factual or legal basis or merit to a case against President Trump,” a spokesperson for Trump told ABC News. “Deranged Democrats and their mainstream media comrades are corrupting the judicial process and militarizing the justice system in order to manipulate public opinion because they are clearly losing the political battle. The real story here is that prosecutors don’t only attack lawyers when they have no case.”

A spokesperson for the office of special counsel declined to comment.

ABC News

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