Trump Vows to Fight Judge’s Order for His Lawyer to Testify

(Bloomberg) — Former President Donald Trump has vowed to fight a court order that reportedly directs one of his lead defense attorneys to testify again before a federal grand jury in an investigation into classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago.

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    US District Chief Judge Beryl Howell ordered Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran to make another grand jury appearance, finding prosecutors had successfully argued for an exception to a legal privilege that would normally shield him from being questioned about his communications with Trump, CNN reported Friday.

    The government can argue for what’s known as the crime-fraud exception to attorney-client privilege if it has reason to believe a person consulted with their lawyer in order to carry out an ongoing or future crime or fraudulent activity.

    Corcoran and his attorney Michael Levy didn’t return a request for comment. Corcoran had represented Trump in his dealings with the Justice Department leading up to last summer’s FBI search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Florida estate. He previously testified before a federal grand jury in Washington in January in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into whether classified material was mishandled after Trump left the White House.

    A statement provided by a Trump representative on Friday appeared to indicate they would appeal Howell’s decision: “Every American has the right to consult with counsel and have candid discussions — this promotes adherence to the law. We will fight the Department of Justice on this front and all others that jeopardize fundamental American rights and values. Interfering with Americans’ right to an attorney is a serious and weighty matter.”

    The order came on Howell’s last day as chief judge and as Judge James Boasberg kicks off his seven-year term. Boasberg will take over managing the court’s secret grand jury proceedings. It wasn’t immediately clear if he would handle the Corcoran matter going forward, though; he has the authority to delegate cases to other judges and could keep it on his predecessor’s docket.

    A federal judge in California previously held that the crime-fraud exception applied to conservative attorney John Eastman’s emails in connection with the congressional investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol. The judge held it was “more likely than not” that both Trump and Eastman had committed crimes.

    Neither Trump nor Eastman have been charged to date.

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