WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal prosecutors Investigation of the possible misuse of secret documents At former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate, a Trump attorney will be able to be questioned again before a grand jury, a judge has ruled in a sealed order.
The order requires M. Evan Corcoran to answer additional questions while prosecutors continue their investigation into classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago and possible efforts to obstruct that investigation. The order was described on Friday by a person familiar with it, who was not authorized to discuss a sealed procedure, and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
The exact scope of the order, which is expected to be appealed, was not immediately clear. Neither Corcoran nor his attorney responded with a request for comment. and a spokesman for Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the investigation, also did not respond to an email about the order.
A Trump spokesman said the Trump team will “fight the Justice Department on this front and anyone else who threatens fundamental American rights and values.”
Corcoran had appeared weeks earlier before the federal grand jury in Washington investigating the Mar-a-Lago case, but he had invoked attorney-client privilege by refusing to answer certain questions. This privilege protects attorneys from sharing details of their conversations with clients with prosecutors.
Prosecutors can circumvent this privilege if they can persuade a judge that an attorney’s services have been enlisted to further a crime – a principle known as the crime and fraud exception. The Justice Department invoked that exception in this case, arguing to Beryl Howell, the outgoing Chief Justice of the Federal Court in Washington, DC, that more testimony was needed.
Howell issued her order to give at least some additional testimony before the end of her term as Chief Justice. She will be replaced as chief justice by James “Jeb” Boasberg, an Obama-appointed colleague who has served on the federal bench since 2011.
Corcoran is considered relevant to the investigation in part because he authored a statement to the Justice Department last year claiming that a “careful search” for classified documents was being conducted had been carried out in Mar-a-Lago in response to a subpoena. Months later, however, FBI agents searched the home with a search warrant and found about 100 other documents with classified markings.
The Justice Department is investigating whether Trump or someone close to him interfered with efforts to recover all classified documents, including top secret material, from his home.
As chief justice, Boasberg will oversee federal grand juries, including those dealing with Trump matters, in the courthouse and preside over sealed disputes like Corcoran’s.
Separately, former Vice President Mike Pence has said he will contest a grand jury subpoena to compel him to testify in the January 6 special counsel inquest. Pence has argued that because he served in his role as President of the Senate on Jan. 6, when he chaired a joint session of Congress to confirm the election results, he is protected from being forced to enforce his actions under the Constitution to address Speech-or-debate clause protecting members of Congress.
It is not clear how this disagreement will be resolved.
Source : news.yahoo.com