Trump lawyer testifies before grand jury after ‘crime fraud’ ruling in classified documents probe

Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran tested Friday under court order and the “crime fraud” exception before the federal grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump’s handling of sensitive government documents.

Corcoran was spotted going into the federal courthouse in Washington, DC shortly before 9 am ET.

Corcoran had been ordered to appear and answer questions about his interactions with former President Donald Trump under the “crime fraud” exception, meaning he could not assert attorney-client privilege to avoid testing about their discussions.

US District Judge Beryl Howell had signed off on the request by special counsel Jack Smith to force Corcoran to testify after finding he’d presented sufficient evidence to establish that Trump committed a crime through his attorneys, a source briefed on the proceedings confirmed to NBC News on Wednesday.

Trump’s legal team appealed to the ruling, but it was denied earlier this week, leading to his appearance before the panel in a sealed proceeding Friday. All the filings in the case are under seal as well.

Corcoran tested for roughly three and a half hours. He declined to comment to reporters as he left the courthouse. A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

NBC News reported in mid-February that Smith, who was appointed by US Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate Trump’s handling of classified documents and his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection, was seeking to compel Corcoran to testify.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing, and called the investigation into him a partisan “witch hunt.”

Trump attorney Timothy Parlatore, meanwhile, confirmed to NBC News that he voluntarily testified before the grand jury in late December about the comprehensive search for documents with classification markings he had conducted at a number of Trump properties late last year.

“I didn’t initially talk about it because we didn’t want to make a big thing of it,” Parlatore said of his Dec. 22 testimonies, which was first reported by ABC News.

Parlatore said he was acting as “custodian of records” for the former president’s office when he organized searches for documents at Trump Tower in New York, Trump’s property in Bedminster, NJ and three locations in Florida — Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, an office in Palm Beach and a storage unit.

The search turned up a handful of additional documents with classification markings at the storage unit and at Mar-a-Lago.

The searches came months after the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago and found over 100 documents with classification markings, despite a statement from a different Trump lawyer, Christina Bobb, in June that all such documents had been turned over in accordance with a DOJ subpoena from May.

Bobb told federal investigators that the statement she signed had been prepared by Corcoran, NBC News has previously reported.

Parlatore said the Justice Department was made aware of the later searches he organized ahead of time, and Trump’s team had “offered the FBI the opportunity to be involved in the search and they refused.”

Parlatore said he laid out in detail for the grand jury how the searches were conducted and “everything we’d do to ensure full compliance with the subpoena.”

He also accused the DOJ of “prosecutorial misconduct” during his testimony, saying they tried to bar him from discussing his efforts to include the FBI in the search, and had improperly pressed him for information on his conversations with Trump, which he refused to divulge under attorney-client privilege.

The parlatore said the prosecutor asked him in front of the panel why Trump was not waiving that privilege, which he said was “completely improper.”

A spokesperson for the special counsel declined comment.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *