You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Special counsel believes Trump intentionally misled lawyers about classified docs: report

New York Post logo: MainLogo New York Post 3/22/2023 Victor Nava

A federal judge ruled Friday that Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office presented compelling preliminary evidence showing that former President Donald Trump intentionally misled his lawyers about classified documents he possessed after leaving the White House, according to a report. 

In a sealed filing, Judge Beryl Howell, who stepped down as the DC district court’s chief judge on Friday, wrote that prosecutors in Smith’s office had made a “prima facie showing that the former president had committed criminal violations,” sources told ABC News on Tuesday. 

Howell agreed with prosecutors that there was “sufficient” evidence that Trump, 76, “intentionally concealed” the existence of classified material from his lawyer, which put the attorney in a position to deceive the government, according to the news outlet, citing sources familiar with the filing.

Howell went on to describe the former president’s interactions with officials from the National Archives, who sought to retrieve presidential records that Trump allegedly left the White House with, as a “dress rehearsal” for his later attempts at misdirection in response to a Justice Department subpoena.

© Provided by New York Post Judge Beryl Howell described Trump’s interactions the National Archives as a “dress rehearsal” for his later attempts at misdirection in response to a Justice Department subpoena.REUTERS

As a result, Howell ordered Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran to comply with a grand jury subpoena for testimony on six lines of inquiry over which he had previously refused to provide answers for, citing attorney-client privilege.

If a lawyer is used in furtherance of a crime or fraud, attorney-client privilege would not be grounds for restricting testimony. 

Howell also ordered Corcoran to turn over records, including handwritten notes, invoices, and transcripts of personal audio recordings related to what Howell called Trump’s alleged “criminal scheme,” according to the report. 

© Provided by New York Post The judge ruled that Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran cannot use attorney-client privilege to get out of testifying to the grand jury hearing evidence against Trump.AP

Despite Friday’s filing, the news outlet noted that Howell made it clear that Smith’s office would need to meet a higher standard of evidence in order to seek charges against the former president. 

It’s unclear what evidence Howell reviewed before her ruling on Friday. 

In response to the report, a Trump campaign spokesperson told ABC News, “Shame on Fake News ABC for broadcasting ILLEGALLY LEAKED false allegations from a Never Trump, now former chief judge, against the Trump legal team.”

“The real story here, that Fake News ABC SHOULD be reporting on, is that prosecutors only attack lawyers when they have no case whatsoever,” the spokesperson added.

Corcoran is likely of particular interest to Smith’s team because he drafted a statement signed by another Trump attorney, Christina Bobb, in June 2022 that declared that Trump’s team had fully complied with a subpoena seeking classified documents being housed at the ex commander-in-chief’s Mar-a-Lago estate. 

© Provided by New York Post The FBI found a trove of classified documents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in August of last year.AP

Two months later, the FBI recovered hundreds of pages of classified material during its search of Trump’s Palm Beach, Fla., club and residence. 

Trump’s lawyers are expected to appeal Howell’s Friday ruling, according to ABC News.


New York Post

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon