Trump Allegedly Concealed Classified Records: Prosecutors Show Evidence
Judge Orders Subpoena Compliance and Records Handover in Jack Smith's Classified Documents Probe
Trump's Potential Criminal Violations
Prosecutors in the special counsel's office of former President Donald Trump have presented preliminary evidence that Trump may have knowingly and deliberately misled his attorneys about his retention of classified materials after leaving office, according to sources who described its contents to ABC News.
U.S. Judge Beryl Howell, who stepped down as the D.C. district court's chief judge, wrote that prosecutors had made a "prima facie showing that the former president had committed criminal violations," according to the sources. Trump has denied any wrongdoing in his handling of classified documents.
In her sealed filing, Howell ordered that Evan Corcoran, an attorney for Trump, should comply with a grand jury subpoena for testimony on six separate lines of inquiry over which he had previously asserted attorney-client privilege. In addition to the testimony, she also ordered Corcoran to hand over a number of records associated with the alleged "criminal scheme," including handwritten notes, invoices, and transcriptions of personal audio recordings.
Judge Howell found that prosecutors showed "sufficient" evidence that Trump "intentionally concealed" the existence of additional classified documents from Corcoran, sources said, placing Corcoran in an unwitting position to deceive the government.
Ongoing Legal Vulnerabilities
The developments described by sources illustrate another dimension of the former president's ongoing legal vulnerabilities. As special counsel Jack Smith's classified documents probe continues, prosecutors in New York are mulling a separate indictment against Trump over hush payments he allegedly made to an adult film star ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Trump also faces scrutiny in Georgia over his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in the state.
Central to Smith's efforts in the classified documents probe is determining whether lawyers who represented the former president falsely certified in response to a grand jury subpoena that Trump had returned all classified records to the government or whether Trump himself sought to conceal records that he may have had unlawfully retained.
Federal prosecutors have claimed that lawyers for Trump certified in June 2022 that a "diligent search" of Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate only resulted in 38 classified documents being stored in a secured storage room. When FBI agents raided the premises two months later, they found more than 100 additional documents marked classified -- some of which were located outside of the storage room, including in Trump's office desk.
Attorneys Expected to Appeal
In her order last Friday, Howell was unsparing in her criticism of Trump's actions since early last year in response to the government's attempts to retrieve all classified documents taken from the White House. Sources said prosecutors have sought to question Corcoran on how he aided another Trump attorney in drafting a June 2022 statement to the Justice Department, which Bobb ultimately signed.