Trump lawyers meet with Justice Dept. officials as charging decision nears in Mar-a-Lago case

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawyers for Donald Trump met with Justice Department officials on Monday as a decision nears on whether to bring charges over the handling of classified documents at the former president’s Florida estate.

The Trump lawyers two weeks ago requested a meeting with Attorney General Merrick Garland to raise concerns about what they alleged was prosecutorial misconduct and overreach by the team led by special counsel Jack Smith. But a defense attorney meeting with Justice Department officials is also often used as an opportunity to try to persuade them against bringing in criminal charges.

A trio of Trump attorneys — James Trusty, John Rowley and Lindsey Halligan — exited the Justice Department building in Washington on Monday morning after more than an hour inside. They got into a black sport utility vehicle and did not respond to reporters’ questions.

It was not immediately clear who from the Justice Department attended the meeting. A spokesman for Smith had no immediate comment, and a Justice Department spokesman did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

The investigation into the potential mishandling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago is believed to be near its end, with a charging decision likely soon. Prosecutors have placed a broad cross-section of witnesses, including lawyers for Trump and close aids, before a grand jury.

Besides the Mar-a-Lago investigation, Smith is leading a separate probe into efforts by Trump and his allies to undo the results of the 2020 presidential election.

It’s not clear when or if charges might be brought.


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