A federal judge refrained from holding former President Donald Trump or his legal team in contempt of court Friday for defying a May subpoena demanding classified documents, according to multiple reports.
Judge Beryl Howell, an Obama appointee, needled Trump’s team and the Department of Justice to sort out their differences among themselves during the hearing, according to ABC and the Guardian. Lawyers for the DOJ had petitioned Howell, who sits on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to hold Trump’s team in contempt, arguing they flouted the subpoena.
Friday’s roughly 80-minute-long sealed court proceeding concluded around 3:30 p.m. EST, but the outcome was not immediately announced publicly. The Washington Examiner has reached out to a court spokesperson for additional information.
“This afternoon, the Court held a hearing regarding an ongoing and sealed grand jury matter. This matter remains under seal, pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e) and Local Criminal Rule 6.1,” a court spokesperson said, CNN reported.
The May subpoena was reportedly followed by federal officials visiting Mar-a-Lago in June to collect any outstanding classified material. Around that time, one of Trump’s lawyers signed a statement attesting that all such documents had been handed over but reportedly added a disclaimer to evade legal culpability.
On Aug. 8, FBI agents conducted a search and seizure at the Florida estate and confiscated over 100 documents bearing labels ranging from “CONFIDENTIAL” to “TOP SECRET” information, according to court records. The raid highlighted how Trump’s team had not surrendered all the material outlined in the subpoena.
Recently, Trump’s lawyers also relinquished at least two additional items found in one of Trump’s storage units as a legal team poured through Trump’s properties on the hunt for any lingering material sought by the DOJ.
DOJ officials are reportedly investigating possible violations of the Espionage Act and obstruction of justice in Trump’s handling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. Trump, who announced his 2024 campaign last month, has denied wrongdoing and chided the DOJ for orchestrating a “witch hunt.”
Following Trump’s 2024 announcement, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Jack Smith as a special counsel to spearhead DOJ investigations pertaining to the Mar-a-Lago document debacle and the DOJ’s sweeping Jan. 6 inquiry, which has reportedly homed in on Trump on several occasions.
Smith is expected to make a decision about whether or not to bring charges against Trump for his conduct.