federal prosecutors investigate possible mishandling of classified documents in the former president donald trumpThe Florida estate will be allowed to cross-examine a Trump lawyer again before a grand jury, a judge ruled Friday in a sealed order.
The order will require M. Evan Corcoran to answer additional questions as prosecutors continue their investigation into the classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago, as well as possible efforts to obstruct that investigation. The order was described by a person familiar with it, who was not authorized to discuss a secret proceeding 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 spokesperson for special counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the investigation, also did not respond to an email about the order.
A Trump spokesman said the Trump team “will fight the Department of Justice on this front and all others that endanger fundamental American rights and values.”
Corcoran had already appeared weeks ago before the federal grand jury in Washington investigating the Mar-a-Lago matter, but had 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 communications they are seeking answers to involve the promotion of a crime, a principle known as the felony-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.
Howell issued his order granting at least some additional testimony before the end of his term Friday as chief judge. James “Jeb” Boasberg, a fellow Obama appointee who has served on the federal court since 2011, will replace her as chief judge.
Corcoran is considered relevant to the investigation in part because he wrote a statement to the Justice Department last year stating that a “diligent search” of classified documents had been held at Mar-a-Lago in response to a subpoena. Months later, however, fbi Agents searched the home with a warrant and found approximately 100 additional documents with classified markings.
The Justice Department is investigating whether Trump or someone in his orbit obstructed his efforts to recover all classified documents, including top-secret material, from his home.
As chief judge, Boasberg will oversee federal grand juries, including those handling Trump matters, in court and will preside over sealed disputes like Corcoran’s.
Separately, Former Vice President Mike Pence He has said he will defy a grand jury subpoena seeking to compel him to testify in the special counsel’s January 6 investigation. Pence has argued that because he was serving as president of the Senate on January 6, while presiding over a joint session of Congress to certify the election results, he is protected from being forced to address his actions under the Constitution. speech-or-debate” that protects members of Congress.
It is unclear how that disagreement will end.
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