An appeals court has dismissed an attempt by former President Trump’s legal team to challenge a ruling ordering his attorney, Evan Corcoran, to produce documents related to a probe into potential mishandling of records at Mar-a-Lago. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with special counsel Jack Smith and backed a lower court judge who issued the sealed ruling directing Corcoran to cooperate on several lines of inquiry. The Justice Department presented sufficient evidence that legal advice may have been in furtherance of a crime, allowing the piercing of attorney-client privilege.
Reporting from ABC News indicates that Trump may have concealed the existence of additional classified records held at his Florida home. Howell’s ruling compelled Corcoran to testify along six lines of inquiry where he declined to answer questions in a prior grand jury appearance. She also compelled him to produce documents, notes, invoices, transcripts, or audio recordings related to the case, which she referred to as a criminal scheme. Trump’s team previously dismissed the story as illegally leaked and has not commented on the appeal.
The decision came from three Obama appointees, and the arguments from both Trump’s team and the Justice Department are under seal. Any further challenge from Trump would fall before the Supreme Court. Corcoran’s testimony could be critical to the Mar-a-Lago investigation. He turned over 38 additional records to prosecutors in June 2022 after the Justice Department issued a subpoena for any remaining documents bearing classified markings. He reportedly drafted a statement saying all classified records had been returned but turned the certification over to another attorney to sign.
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti suggested that testimony from Corcoran could lead to further piercing of privileged conversations. The judge ordered the transcriptions of personal audio recordings, suggesting that Corcoran may have recorded conversations with Trump. The judge found that those recorded conversations constitute evidence of what she called Trump’s criminal scheme, which could be extremely powerful and important evidence.
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