Several news outlets have reported that a federal prosecutor working for the Department of Justice has asked a federal judge to compel a lawyer for former President Donald Trump to testify before a grand jury looking into how scores of documents with classification markings ended up at Trump’s Florida home.
I’m starting to like this guy Jack Smith. He seems to be driving this investigation forward without much public fuss or rancor, but with real energy.
— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) February 13, 2023
According to reports from The Associated Press and other media outlets on Tuesday night, citing unnamed sources familiar with the situation, special counsel Jack Smith is attempting to undermine Trump attorney Evan Corcoran’s assertions of attorney-client privilege by arguing that the claim has been void because Corcoran was being used to carry out a crime or fraud.
In response to a grand jury subpoena issued last year, former federal prosecutor Corcoran helped deliver several papers with classified marks. He was also involved in drafting a declaration attesting that all responsive records had been supplied, though another Trump attorney, Christina Bobb, ultimately signed it after some revisions.
Smith’s claims about what crimes Corcoran’s testimony could reveal remain unclear, but newly released court documents show that prosecutors convinced a magistrate who issued a search warrant in August for Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate that there was evidence of obstruction of justice and possible offenses related to classified information.
Prosecutors claim that roughly 100 documents seized during the search should have been returned to the National Archives because they bear classification markings.
On Tuesday, we contacted Corcoran for comment, but he did not immediately answer. In response to our request for comment, Smith’s representative said they would pass.
According to a spokesperson for President Trump, the investigation being conducted by the special counsel is a “targeted, politically driven witch hunt,” and “the militarised Department of Injustice has demonstrated no regard for basic decency and key standards governing the legal system.”
Smith has filed a motion to compel Corcoran’s testimony, and it will be heard by Beryl Howell, chief judge of the U.S. District Court in Washington and an Obama appointee. In most cases, the proceedings are private, but the outcomes may be made public.
Howell will hand over his position as chief judge to fellow Obama appointment James Boasberg next month.
In November, Attorney General Merrick Garland named Smith as a special counsel. He gave him authority over the investigation into the sensitive documents found in Trump’s home, as well as separate probes into efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and issues related to fundraising during the election and its aftermath.