Outgoing Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell for the District of Columbia ordered a key Trump attorney to testify before the grand jury investigating the Mar-a-Lago document scandal, multiple news outlets reported on Friday.
The scope of Howell’s decision isn’t totally clear, but she appears to have at least partly granted a request from federal prosecutors to bring Trump attorney Evan Corcoran before a grand jury.
Corcoran was point man for Trump on the Mar-a-Lago case, as Trump sought to hold onto boxes of classified records that he took from the White House as he left office.
The FBI raided Mar-a-Lago in August 2022, revealing the extent of the probe and setting off a firestorm of speculation over what, and why, Trump was hiding.
Corcoran, ABC reported on Thursday, is of particular interest to prosecutors in part because he may have knowledge of Trump’s efforts to allegedly obstruct federal attempts to get the classified documents back.
Federal prosecutors asked Howell to find that attorney-client privilege did not apply because Trump was using the secrecy afforded by that relationship with Corcoran in furtherance of a crime. Howell on Friday reportedly agreed with prosecutors.
Corcoran reportedly spoke with Trump on June 24, 2022 over the phone — around the same time as the FBI obtained access to security camera footage at Mar-a-Lago.
What the two discussed remains unclear, but the footage is what stoked concerns among federal law enforcement that Trump was still hiding classified records at Mar-a-Lago.
Trump’s attorneys are expected to appeal Howell’s ruling to the D.C. Circuit. As the matter concerns an ongoing investigation, it’s not clear how much of the litigation will be made public.