Two lawyers for former President Donald J. Trump are likely to become witnesses or targets in the investigation into how he hoarded documents marked as classified at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida estate — and secretly held onto some even after the lawyers claimed all sensitive materials had been returned, legal specialists said.
The lawyers, M. Evan Corcoran and Christina Bobb, handled Mr. Trump’s interactions with the government over a subpoena in May seeking additional material marked as classified. In a court filing late Tuesday, the Justice Department strongly suggested that people in Mr. Trump’s circle concealed documents in defiance of that subpoena, putting a spotlight on the lawyers’ actions.
“They are potentially witnesses — if not defendants,” Barbara McQuade, a University of Michigan law professor and former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan from 2010 to 2017, said of the two lawyers.
The filing did not identify which lawyers for Mr. Trump took the key actions. But The New York Times has reported that after receiving the subpoena, Mr. Corcoran searched through boxes kept in a storage area in Mar-a-Lago’s basement for files with classified markings.
The Times has also reported that on June 3, after Mr. Trump’s lawyers met with Jay I. Bratt, the head of the Justice Department’s counterespionage section, and F.B.I. agents, Ms. Bobb signed a statement attesting that all the sensitive material had been returned.
During that visit, Mr. Trump’s representatives turned over 38 documents with classified markings and indicated that all the records had been kept in a storage room, that no other records were stored elsewhere and that all available boxes had been searched, prosecutors said.
According to the statement Ms. Bobb signed on behalf of Mr. Trump, “based upon the information that has been provided to me,” all documents responsive to the subpoena were being returned after a “diligent” search. The Times has reported that she was the designated “custodian of records” for Mr. Trump.
Yet on Aug. 8, the F.B.I. found more than twice as many documents marked as classified as had been turned over in June, including some in Mr. Trump’s office. That fact, the Justice Department wrote, “calls into serious question the representations made in the June 3 certification” — which also included a claim that no copies had been made of any files — “and casts doubt on the extent of cooperation in this matter.” [Continue reading…]
Weissmann says Trump’s lawyers should withdraw from the case and retain defense counsel pic.twitter.com/u7muFKR1fI
— Acyn (@Acyn) August 31, 2022
Just six days before the Justice Department subpoenaed to recover highly sensitive documents housed at Mar-a-Lago, one of Former President Donald Trump’s attorneys scoured the estate searching for records in response to a separate legal matter.
The attorney, Alina Habba, told a New York State court that on May 5, she conducted a search of Trump’s private residence and office at Mar-a-Lago that was so “diligent” it included “all desks, drawers, nightstands, dressers, closets, etc.” She was looking for records in response to a subpoena issued by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is investigating matters related to the Trump Organization.
The same filing also includes an affidavit from Trump himself, indicating that he “authorized Alina Habba to search my private residence and personal office located at The Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida for any and all documents responsive to the Subpoena.” Habba indicated she conducted similar searches at Trump’s residences and office at his Bedminster estate. [Continue reading…]