DOJ Wants Trump Lawyer to Testify Under Crime-Fraud Exception: Reports

  • Federal prosecutors want Trump’s attorney to testify under a crime-fraud exception, reports say.
  • It can be used if there’s reason to believe a client is using legal services for illegal purposes. 
  • One source told CNN prosecutors alleged that Trump used his lawyer to further a crime or fraud.

Federal prosecutors are trying to get one of former President Donald Trump’s lawyers to sit down for questioning as part of the investigation into the classified documents that Trump kept after leaving office.

According to two sources who spoke with The New York Times, prosecutors have asked a federal judge to turn to a legal maneuver that would sidestep attorney-client privilege — which protects communications between a lawyer and client — known as the client-fraud exception. This would allow Trump lawyer M. Evan Corcoran to undergo questioning without the ability to assert client privilege, the Times reported.

The crime-fraud exception is usually invoked if prosecutors have reason to believe that a client is using legal services to aid in a current or future crime.

“Some of the crimes that often arise in this context include crimes that are meant to obstruct an investigation or ongoing prosecution,” according to legal information site Justia.

One source familiar with the investigation also told CNN that federal prosecutors alleged on paper that Trump used his lawyer to further a crime or fraud.

The Times previously reported that Corcoran appeared before a grand jury in Washington, and cited his attorney-client privilege during questioning, three sources told the Times. The questioning was related to the events prior to the August search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, according to CNN.

The reports did not specify what crime or fraud prosecutors are accusing Trump of trying to further, or what evidence they are using to back up their claims.

Trump is being investigated by Jack Smith, the DOJ special counsel, after hundreds of documents were discovered in his Mar-a-Lago home after he left office in 2021

Corcoran and a representative for Trump did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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