Donald Trump’s lawyers must provide evidence in classified documents probe

Amid myriad probes into Donald Trump, a federal appeals court ordered one of his lawyers, Evan Corcoran, must turn over notes, transcripts, and other evidence to prosecutors investigating classified documents recovered from the former president’s Mar-a-Lago home months after a subpoena ordered all sensitive files to be returned.

The three-judge panel issued a brief order Wednesday afternoon directing the parties “to comply with the district court’s March 17, 2023, order to produce documents” and ending an emergency hold on a ruling last week by a lower-court judge.

Trump’s legal team had appealed that ruling, which said the lawyer, Evan Corcoran, must provide evidence to prosecutors because his legal services may have been used to facilitate a possible crime — obstruction of government attempts to recover highly sensitive documents — according to people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sealed court proceedings.

Lawyers for the former president had argued that the material being sought was protected by attorney-client privilege, which in most instances shields any communications between a lawyer and a client.

Prosecutors responded — and U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ultimately agreed — that the “crime-fraud exception” to the attorney-client privilege applied in this case, the people familiar with the matter said.

Trump is facing unprecedented legal scrutiny. The former president is under investigation by the Justice Department, district attorneys in Manhattan and Fulton County, Ga., and a state attorney general. He denies wrongdoing. Here is a list of the key investigations and where they stand.

The Justice Department is investigating the failed Jan. 6, 2021, coup d’etat and whether Trump conspired to obstruct the congressional certification of the election result to block the peaceful transfer of power.

FBI agents found more than 100 classified documents during a search of Trump’s residence at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., on Aug. 8 as part of a criminal probe into possible mishandling of classified information.

A grand jury is hearing witness testimony as prosecutors weigh their next steps. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed veteran prosecutor Jack Smith to oversee both this and the Mar-a-Lago investigation.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis is investigating whether Trump and his allies illegally meddled in the 2020 election in Georgia.

A Georgia judge on Feb. 15 released parts of a report produced by a special-purpose grand jury, and authorities who are privy to the report will decide whether to ask a new grand jury to vote on criminal charges.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg convened a grand jury to evaluate business-related matters involving Trump, including his alleged role in making hush-money payments to the adult-film actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump was recently offered a chance to appear before the grand jury, a sign the probe was nearly finished. The New York grand jury investigating Trump’s alleged hush money payments will not be meeting Wednesday but it could meet to consider a possible indictment of Trump later this week.

New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a civil fraud lawsuit on September 21, 2022, charging Trump, three of his children, and the Trump Organization of flagrantly manipulating the valuations of their properties to get better terms on loans and insurance policies, and to get tax breaks.

That litigation is pending.

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