A federal judge in Washington won’t release records about the secret court fight prosecutors waged to force one of Donald Trump’s lawyers to testify and turn over documents in the criminal probe into the former president’s handling of classified information.
(Bloomberg) — A federal judge in Washington won’t release records about the secret court fight prosecutors waged to force one of Donald Trump’s lawyers to testify and turn over documents in the criminal probe into the former president’s handling of classified information.
In an opinion released Friday, US District Chief Judge James Boasberg wrote that nothing in the Florida federal indictment against Trump or in public statements from Special Counsel John “Jack” Smith’s office confirmed enough details to justify releasing information about sealed grand jury proceedings.
“While the Court appreciates the press’s diligent efforts to inform the public of the details surrounding these newsworthy events, it is constrained to neither confirm nor deny the existence of the records the press seeks at this time,” Boasberg wrote.
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Various media outlets, including Bloomberg News, had identified Trump attorney Evan Corcoran as the subject of the subpoena fight as well as information about the arguments and the outcome. Corcoran and Trump unsuccessfully argued to toss out the subpoena, citing privileges that cover communications between lawyers and their clients, a lawyer’s notes and other written work.
Corcoran appeared twice before the grand jury in Washington, first at the beginning of the year and again on March 24, after a federal appeals court declined to intervene.
The indictment in Florida referred to Corcoran only as “Attorney 1,” but prosecutors in other court filings had provided enough information to confirm that it was the same person. The charging papers featured evidence about purported discussions Corcoran and Trump had in 2022 about the government’s demands for the return of classified material in the former president’s possession.
After the charges were first filed in June, three media outlets — CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post — petitioned Boasberg to unseal any records related to attorney-client privilege fights. A lawyer for the media coalition was not immediately reached for comment.
Corcoran isn’t charged with any crimes and has continued to serve as a counsel to Trump, although he recused from work related to the documents probe given his role as a witness.
Trump is charged with illegally holding on to classified information after he left the White House and trying to obstruct government efforts to retrieve the materials. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Boasberg previously unsealed documents related to a separate fight over whether former Vice President Mike Pence had to testify before the grand jury in the federal criminal probe into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The judge wrote in Friday’s opinion that the latest case was different because Pence had publicly confirmed information about those proceedings.
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