A federal appeals court took less than a day to bat away an attempt from President Trump to block an attorney of his from participating in Jack Smith’s investigation.
A three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling on Wednesday and ordered Trump attorney Evan Corcoran to hand over records to Smith’s investigation, per a docket entry. The order itself is sealed, as were the lower court’s rulings.
CNN reported that, per the ruling, Corcoran would also be required to testify before the grand jury. That is likely to take place on Friday.
Corcoran came into Smith’s sights for his involvement in the Mar-a-Lago records investigation, in which Trump is suspected of illegally retaining classified government records after leaving office.
Smith asked former chief D.C. judge Beryl Howell to pierce the attorney-client privilege that bound Corcoran from discussing his work on the Mar-a-Lago case with Trump. Secrecy rules between lawyers and their clients can be broken if a judge determines that the privilege was likely used in furtherance of a crime.
Lo and behold, reports indicate that Judge Howell agreed with federal prosecutors that Trump likely committed a crime in his dealings with Corcoran. One report said that Howell found that Trump likely lied to Corcoran in an effort to continue retaining the records, though it specified that Howell said that evidence presented by prosecutors fell short of what would be needed to bring criminal charges against Trump.
Trump appealed that ruling, and drew a panel of judges who had all been appointed by various Democratic presidents.
In the past, appeals panels have largely ruled against Trump as he has sought to stymie criminal investigations. Many of them, however, have allowed the cases to drag on for weeks and, in some cases, months, delaying the investigation while eventually restating bedrock principles of law that lead to his defeat in court.
In this case, the court asked Trump’s attorneys to file a brief by midnight. The DOJ had a 6 a.m. deadline to respond.
The ruling came in after 3:00 p.m. EST, affirming Howell’s ruling as it applied to documents.