Justice Department convinces judge overseeing Mar-a-Lago classified documents enquiry that Trump used lawyer Evan Corcoran to help him commit a CRIME

The Justice Department successfully convinced a judge in Washington DC overseeing the Mar-a-Lago classified documents inquiry that Donald Trump used his lawyer to help him commit a crime.

Judge Beryl Howell on Friday stepped down as the chief judge of the court, after serving her seven-year term.

In one of her final decisions she ruled that Evan Corcoran, a lawyer for Trump, should be forced to appear again before the grand jury investigating the Mar-a-Lago documents saga. 

Now, prosecutors and the Trump team are working to make their case.

ABC News cited a source who said that the Justice Department provided compelling evidence as to why Corcoran should be forced back before the panel. CNN then confirmed ABC’s reporting.

Corcoran appeared in January, and repeatedly used attorney-client privilege as a reason for not answering their questions.

Evan Corcoran, one of Trump's lawyers. Howell on Friday handed Corcoran's notes over to the Justice Department and found evidence that Trump had used Corcoran to help him commit a crime

Evan Corcoran, one of Trump’s lawyers. Howell on Friday handed Corcoran’s notes over to the Justice Department and found evidence that Trump had used Corcoran to help him commit a crime

Beryl Howell on Friday stepped down from her role as chief judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, at the end of her seven-year term. She remains on the bench, but she has now been replaced as chief judge

Beryl Howell on Friday stepped down from her role as chief judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, at the end of her seven-year term. She remains on the bench, but she has now been replaced as chief judge

Prosecutors asked Howell to force him to testify again, and argued that attorney-client privilege should be revoked as there was evidence that Corcoran’s services were being used ‘in furtherance of a crime’.

Howell agreed to the prosecutors’ request, writing that they had provided ‘prima facie showing that the former president had committed criminal violations,’ ABC reported.

Howell also ordered Corcoran to hand over a number of records tied to what Howell described as Trump’s alleged ‘criminal scheme’.

The records are believed to include handwritten notes, invoices, and transcriptions of personal audio recordings.

Trump’s team have appealed, and the three judges hearing the appeal – Nina Pillard, Michelle Childs and Florence Pan of the DC Circuit – gave Trump’s side until midnight on Tuesday to present their reasons for blocking Corcoran’s return before the grand jury.

Prosecutors will then have until 6am on Wednesday to present their case as to why Corcoran should be compelled to testify.

CNN reported that the extremely tight deadline – almost unheard of – was a sign of the seriousness of the case. 

The FBI raided Mar-a-Lago in August, and released this photo of some of the documents which were found

The FBI raided Mar-a-Lago in August, and released this photo of some of the documents which were found

Howell, in her ruling, stressed that she was not advocating charges, noting that prosecutors had more work to do to prove they were merited.

Yet Brandon Van Grack, a former top national security official in the Justice Department who is now in private practice, told ABC News that Howell’s decision was significant.

‘It is a lower hurdle, but it is an indication that the government had presented some evidence and allegation that they had evidence that met the elements of a crime,’ he said.

A Trump campaign spokesperson told ABC: ‘Shame on Fake News ABC for broadcasting ILLEGALLY LEAKED false allegations from a Never Trump, now former chief judge, against the Trump legal team.

‘The real story here, that Fake News ABC SHOULD be reporting on, is that prosecutors only attack lawyers when they have no case whatsoever.’



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