Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran appears before grand jury under crime fraud exception

Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran appears before grand jury under crime fraud exception

Trump's lawyer Evan Corcoran testified on Friday under court order and the crime fraud exception before the federal grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump's handling of sensitive government documents.

Corcoran was spotted entering the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C. shortly before 9 a.m. Corcoran had been ordered to appear and answer questions about his interactions with former President Donald Trump under the crime fraud exception, meaning he could not claim attorney-client privilege to testify about their discussions.

U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell had signed off on the request of special counsel Jack Smith to force Corcoran to testify after he found sufficient evidence to prove that Trump committed a crime through his attorneys, a source told NBC News on Wednesday.

Trump's legal team appealed the ruling, but it was denied earlier this week, leading to his appearance before the panel in a sealed proceeding Friday. All the filings in the case are under seal.

Corcoran testified for about three and a half hours. He didn't want to comment to reporters as he left the courthouse. A spokesman for Trump didn't respond immediately to a request for comment.

In mid-February, NBC News reported that Smith, who was appointed by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate Trump's handling of classified documents and his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection, was trying to compel Corcoran to testify.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and called the investigations into him a partisan witch hunt. Trump's attorney Timothy Parlatore, voluntarily testified before the grand jury in late December about the comprehensive search for documents with classification markings he had conducted at a number of Trump properties last year, according to a statement by Trump attorney Timothy Parlatore.

Parlatore said that he didn't initially talk about it because he didn't want to make a big thing of it, and he said that in his December 22 testimony, which was first reported by ABC News.

Parlatore said he was acting as the custodian of records for the former president's office when he organized searches for documents at Trump Tower in New York, Trump's property in Bedminster, N.J. and three locations in Florida - Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, an office in Palm Beach and a storage unit.

The search resulted in a handful of additional documents with classification markings at the storage unit and Mar-a- Lago.

The FBI found over 100 documents with classification markings after a search warrant was executed at Mar-a-Lago, despite a statement by a different Trump lawyer, Christina Bobb, in June that all such documents had been turned over in accordance with a DOJ subpoena from May.

Bobb told federal investigators that the statement she signed had been prepared by Corcoran, NBC News previously reported.

Parlatore said the Justice Department was made aware of the later searches he had organized ahead of time, and Trump's team offered the FBI the opportunity to be involved in the search, and they refused. Parlatore laid out in detail for the grand jury how the searches were conducted and everything we did to ensure full compliance with the subpoena. He accused the DOJ of felony charges of misconduct in his testimony, accusing them of barring him from discussing his efforts to include the FBI in the search, and he improperly pressed him for information on his conversations with Trump, which he refused to divulge under attorney-client privilege.

Parlatore said the prosecutor asked him in front of the panel why Trump was not waiving that privilege, which he said was completely improper.