Ex-Trump lawyer appears before grand jury as U.S. probes swirl
Send a link to a friend
[March 25, 2023]
By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Evan Corcoran, a lawyer for Donald Trump, appeared
on Friday before a federal grand jury looking into Trump's retention of
classified documents following the end of his presidency, testifying
only after a U.S. judge rejected Corcoran's claim that doing so would
violate attorney-client privilege.
Corcoran's 3-1/2 hour appearance behind closed doors was another signal
that two criminal investigations into Trump led by Special Counsel Jack
Smith - one centered on the documents and the other on efforts by Trump
and his allies to overturn his 2020 election defeat - are gathering
Corcoran and his attorney Michael Levy entered the federal courthouse in
Washington and went to the third floor, where the grand jury typically
meets. Corcoran exited the courthouse without speaking to journalists.
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell, who directed Corcoran to appear,
separately ordered former Trump aides including ex-chief of staff Mark
Meadows to testify to another grand jury examining the election-related
issues including the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol attack by Trump
supporters, ABC News reported.
Attorneys for Trump did not respond to a request for comment on the
court order compelling Meadows and other former aides to testify.
Smith was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland in November. His
investigations are among a growing number of legal worries for Trump,
who in November launched a campaign seeking the 2024 Republican
The Manhattan district attorney's office is considering criminal charges
arising from hush money paid to a porn star in 2016, a local prosecutor
in Georgia is looking into whether Trump unlawfully tried to overturn
his 2020 election defeat in that state and he is facing a defamation
civil lawsuit by a former magazine columnist who accused him of rape.
Trump in a social media post concerning the hush money case spoke of
potential "death & destruction" if he faces criminal charges. Trump last
Saturday had incorrectly stated he would be arrested this past Tuesday.
NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE
U.S. media outlets reported ahead of Corcoran's testimony that Smith's
office had sought court approval to compel Corcoran's testimony, citing
evidence that Trump intentionally mislead his attorneys about his
retention of classified materials at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
[to top of second column]
Evan Corcoran, an attorney for former
President Donald Trump, arrives to testify before a federal grand
jury investigating Trump's handling of classified documents, at U.S.
District Court in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2023. REUTERS/Jonathan
Corcoran sought to block enforcement of a subpoena, citing
attorney-client privilege, a legal doctrine under which confidential
communications between lawyers and their clients are kept private.
ABC reported that Howell in a sealed ruling found that Smith's team
had made a sufficient showing that Trump may have deceived his
attorneys in furtherance of a crime, and determined that
attorney-client privilege could not be used to shield Corcoran from
complying with the grand jury subpoena. That order was upheld by a
federal appeals court in Washington.
Corcoran and Christina Bobb, another attorney representing Trump,
were both involved in talks with the Justice Department last year
ahead of the FBI's Aug. 8 Mar-a-Lago search that turned up
classified documents retained after he left the White House in
In May 2022, Trump received a grand jury subpoena ordering him to
turn over any records with classified markings, and officials from
the Justice Department and FBI met with Trump's attorneys in June to
enforce the subpoena. At that June meeting, the lawyers handed over
a single envelope containing 38 documents with classified markings.
In a certification drafted by Corcoran and signed by Bobb, they
attested they had thoroughly searched the premises and found no
other records bearing classification markings. That claim later
proved to be false, as the FBI discovered about 100 additional
classified records among some 13,000 government documents in its
Aug. 8 search.
Corcoran is one of multiple Trump attorneys who have been summoned
to appear before the grand jury. Tim Parlatore, another attorney,
voluntarily testified before the same grand jury in December to
explain the steps Trump's legal team took to comply with the May
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Will Dunham and Doina
[© 2023 Thomson Reuters. All rights
reserved.]This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Thompson Reuters is solely responsible for this content.