According to a source familiar with the matter, the special counsel investigating Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents is attempting to compel the former president’s lawyer to testify before a grand jury.
According to the source, prosecutors allege in a sealed filing that they have evidence that some of Trump’s conversations with the attorney were in furtherance of a crime.
According to the source, special counsel Jack Smith has asked a judge to allow prosecutors to invoke what’s known as the crime-fraud exception, which would allow them to circumvent the protections afforded to Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran through attorney-client privilege.
The source did not specify which questions the government wants Corcoran to answer.
Corcoran and a Trump spokesperson have been contacted by NBC News for comment.
In August, FBI agents with a warrant searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida to recover classified material after determining that a certification signed by his custodian of record at the time, claiming that all sensitive records had been returned, was false.
NBC News previously reported that at the time, Trump’s custodian of record, Christina Bobb, told investigators that Corcoran had drafted and instructed her to sign a letter certifying that all sensitive records in Trump’s possession had been returned to the government.
Trump, who announced his third presidential bid in November, has called the search for classified documents a “witch hunt,” accusing Democrats of attempting to weaponize the Justice Department against him.
In January, the Justice Department announced that Robert Hur would investigate Obama-era classified material discovered in President Joe Biden’s Delaware home and an office he used during the Trump administration in Washington, D.C.
Smith’s office has subpoenaed Trump administration officials such as former national security adviser Robert O’Brien while also overseeing an investigation into Trump’s role in the riot on January 6, 2021.
Smith served former Vice President Mike Pence with a subpoena last week. According to a source close to Pence, he intends to fight the subpoena.