A federal appeals court ordered Evan Corcoran, who represents the former president on a host of legal matters, to comply with a grand jury subpoena for areas of inquiry that he had previously asserted attorney-client privilege over. Multiple reports have alleged that Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith, who is investigating Trump’s response to his 2020 election loss and the documents controversy, wants answers from Corcoran on his team’s response to federal government efforts to retrieve classified materials.
With the approval of the DOJ, the FBI conducted an unprecedented search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, last August to retrieve classified materials belonging to the National Archives and Records Administration. While Trump has said he had “declassified” those materials and was permitted to take them from the White House after leaving office, federal officials disagreed and eventually conducted a late-night search of the residence to collect the materials.
Smith wants Corcoran to answer questions about a signed certification drafted by him and signed by Trump attorney Christina Bobb that claimed there was a “diligent search” of Mar-a-Lago for classified materials. That certification, which was submitted in response to a May 11 subpoena from the DOJ seeking classified documents in Trump’s possession, was later deemed to be false. This, according to ABC News, is what prompted the eventual search of the former president’s property.
Corcoran was seen entering the U.S. District Courthouse in Washington, D.C., on Friday morning as he went to the third floor, where the grand jury typically meets.
Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in the documents matter. A Trump spokesperson decried the ruling to force Corcoran’s testimony on Wednesday, saying in a statement, “The real story here is that prosecutors only attack lawyers when they have no case whatsoever.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Smith last November to lead the Department of Justice’s investigations into Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and his handling of classified documents. The war crimes prosecutor took over the DOJ’s investigations after Trump declared his 2024 presidential bid, leaving Garland in need of an apolitical investigator to handle such politically sensitive matters.
Trump also faces legal exposure from two unrelated criminal investigations by state prosecutors. The Manhattan district attorney’s office is investigating the 45th president and his company’s finances and is weighing charges related to a hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. The Fulton County district attorney’s office, meanwhile, is examining the former president’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election and his subsequent role in the Capitol riot.