By Harriet Alexander For Dailymail.com 1:46 AM 15 Feb 2023, updated 2:34 AM 15 Feb 2023
Federal prosecutors investigating Donald Trump’s storage of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate have written to the Justice Department asking for permission to compel his attorney to testify before a grand jury, according to a report.
M. Evan Corcoran spoke before the grand jury in January.
Now, according to the New York Times, prosecutors want him back for more questioning — and they’re trying to break Corcoran’s standard attorney-client privilege.
They are asking a federal judge to invoke the “crime fraud exception” that voids attorney-client privilege when there is reason to believe legal advice or legal services were used to further a crime.
Judge Beryl A. Howell, the chief justice in Washington federal court who oversees all grand jury matters, is being asked to determine whether Corcoran can be compelled to testify again — and not invoke attorney-client privilege as a reason for not providing details .
M. Evan Corcoran, one of Trump’s attorneys, testified before a grand jury in January about the classified Mar-a-Lago documents. Now federal prosecutors are trying to bring him back for re-examination — without the ability to invoke attorney-client privilege. The FBI searched Mar-a-Lago in August and released this photo of some of the documents they found
A special prosecutor was appointed on November 18 to investigate both Trump’s handling of the more than 300 classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago and Trump’s actions on January 6.
Jack Smith, a veteran prosecutor, has been hired to investigate whether Trump obstructed justice.
Trump and his lawyers argued over the return of the classified papers for over a year, until August when the FBI raided the property over concerns the documents at the resort could have national security implications.
Corcoran was the focus of the saga.
In May 2022, the Justice Department issued a subpoena for all classified documents still in Trump’s possession after he voluntarily turned over an initial batch of materials to the National Archives.
A month later, Corcoran met with investigators and turned over more than 30 documents in response to the subpoena.
Still, documents remained outstanding, and in August 2022, the FBI launched its raid to recover the files.
Agents were seen outside of Mar-a-Lago on August 9 during the raid on the former president’s Florida home. Trump’s spokesman said efforts to force Corcoran to testify again were part of a witch hunt against him
A spokesman for Trump told the New York Times that Corcoran’s new request for testimony was part of a witch hunt aimed at preventing him from retaking the White House in 2024.
In July, Corcoran represented longtime Trump ally Steve Bannon in his contempt of congress trial.
Bannon was found guilty and sentenced to four months in prison. The former Breitbart editor is appealing his conviction.
Corcoran later cited Trump’s attempts to get documents turned over to the National Archives back to him.