Former Donald Trump defense attorney Evan Corcoran is scheduled to testify before the grand jury on Friday. Lawyers for the ex-US President had tried to prevent Corocoran from unpacking in front of special counsel Jack Smith's team. It is about the documents that Donald Trump had bunkered in his Mar-a-Lago estate after leaving the White House. Corcoran is also said to be providing notes and audio transcripts pertaining to the Mar-a-Lago investigation.
The Chief Justice of the D.C. District courts found it established that Corcoran's legal services were likely used by Trump to further a crime. Trump's lawyers wanted to block the decision. However, a panel of judges immediately dismissed the application.
The announcement by the Circuit Court of Appeals judges adds momentum to the Special Counsel's investigation. They are trying to secure evidence that could decide a federal criminal case against Trump.
Corocoran had previously testified in court, but declined some questions, citing attorney-client privilege. It remains questionable whether a further survey will reveal new information.
In court, the Justice Department argued that prosecutors had sufficient evidence that Trump's collaboration with attorney Corcoran was part of a possible crime. Therefore, the confidentiality of the talks between the two could be lifted. The district judge in Washington D.C. also ruled that the attorney-client privilege could be lifted.
Trump's former lead attorney is to be questioned on six issues, several US media are reporting, citing a source familiar with the matter.
In June, Corcoran had the Mar-a-Lago and submitted about 30 classified documents to the Justice Department. He also had another Trump attorney, Christina Bobb, sign a certificate certifying that the ex-president's team had conducted a "diligent search" and found no other classified documents at Trump's residence. That certification was later found to be false, eventually leading to the court-authorized search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago home, during which FBI investigators found more than 100 classified documents.
According to a report by the US broadcaster ABC News, Trump is said to have deliberately misled his lawyers about the storage of documents containing classified national security information. Investigators now want to find out if this is true.
Smith's investigators want to know from Corcoran whether the ex-president was aware of the statements in the certificate and whether Trump consented to it being provided to the government, ABC News reports, citing sources familiar with the matter. Among other things, Corocoran was asked to disclose what steps had been taken to determine where the documents were located.
A Trump spokesman was enraged by the court's decision. "The deranged Democrats and their comrades in the mainstream media are corrupting the legal process and weaponizing the judicial system to manipulate public opinion because they are clearly losing the political battle," he told ABC News. There is "no factual or legal basis or substance for any case against President Trump." And prosecutors would only attack lawyers if they had no other cases to work on.
A spokesman for the special prosecutor's office has not yet commented.
Sources: CNN, ABCNews, ABC7, The Guardian