Exclusive: Trump lawyer hires own attorney in classified documents probe

By Andrew Goudsward

(Reuters) – A lawyer for former President Donald Trump retained an attorney to represent himself as prosecutors step up their inquiry into the handling of sensitive documents at Trump’s Florida residence, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday.

Evan Corcoran, who has represented Trump in interactions with the government over presidential records taken to his Mar-a-Lago resort, has turned to Michael Levy, a prominent white-collar lawyer in Washington, according to people familiar with the matter.

Levy was hired by Corcoran’s law firm, Silverman Thompson Slutkin & White, to represent Corcoran in the probe, according to one of the people.

Levy, a principal at the Washington law firm Ellerman Enzinna Levy, declined to comment.

Corcoran has appeared before a grand jury in connection with U.S. Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into classified documents taken to Mar-a-Lago following Trump’s term in office and possible attempts to obstruct that probe. He appeared before the grand jury in early January, according to a person familiar with his appearance.

The New York Times reported this week that U.S. prosecutors are seeking to question Corcoran again, asking a U.S. judge to pierce attorney-client privilege by arguing that they’ve uncovered evidence of a crime.

Corcoran communicated with both the National Archives and U.S. Justice Department last year as the government sought the return of presidential records taken to Mar-a-Lago, according to documents released as part of a lawsuit Trump filed last year seeking an independent review of materials the FBI seized at Mar-a-Lago.

Another Trump lawyer, Christina Bobb, signed a certification that all classified documents had been returned before the FBI found about 100 additional classified documents during an August 2022 search, according to prosecutors.

Trump has denied wrongdoing and claimed, without offering evidence, that all documents at his residence had been declassified.

Levy worked with Corcoran in the 1990s as a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C. He has been involved in several high-profile cases throughout his career including representing Enron executives following the company’s 2001 implosion.

Levy previously worked as a white-collar partner at big law firms Paul Hastings and Mayer Brown.

(Reporting by Andrew Goudsward; editing by Amy Stevens and Sonali Paul)