Ever since the U.S. Department of Justice suspected the ex-president might have committed a crime, the FBI commenced an investigation led by special counsel Jack Smith and his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida seems to have revealed incriminating evidence the federal counsel seems to be interested in.
The team is reportedly trying to get Trump's attorney, Evans Corcoran to testify to a grand jury for the second time after initially answering questions at a grand jury in Washington. New York Times reported that the attorney gave no comments on certain questions, insisting on his attorney-client privilege as an excuse.
However, the investigation team seems to be insisting on another jury because attorney-client privilege is void in cases of criminal fraud and the evidence stashed against him would serve enough legal grounds to demand answers to questions that deviated from initially.
The Department of Justice told the chief judge of the U.S. district that it believes Trump may have used his attorney's services to cover up his crime.
"This is a bold escalation by Jack Smith to avoid the attorney/client privilege and otherwise, non-answers from Trump's lawyer," Andrew Lieb, attorney and managing partner of Lieb at Law, P.C., told Newsweek.
He explained that Trump's attorney wouldn't have been exempted from answering the questions from the first jury if the judge had found a reason for the crime-fraud exception.
The questions avoided by Corcoran remain confidential and specific information hasn't been provided on the crime they think Trump is involved in. However, the FBI has accused the former president of fouling up some classified materials found in a search conducted at his apartment last year. They also believe he is trying to obstruct every plan to retrieve the remaining documents.
The search made by FBI agents on his Florida estate in August, last year exposed over 100 classified documents that were reportedly hidden in his storage room. His attorney, Corcoran reportedly wrote a letter to federal prosecutors affirming that his client is no longer in possession of any classified document earlier in June, only for the search made in August to reveal many more "top secret documents" yet to be handed over.
The FBI investigation seems to be about improper removal and storage of classified information. All U.S. presidents are expected to transfer all their documents and emails to a government archive upon retirement from office and the former U.S. president is non-conforming with the rules.
Donald Trump Speaks Up On Allegations Of Unlawful Possession Of Classified Information
Former president Donal Trump has vehemently denied allegations of improper removal of classified documents made by the U.S. Department of Justice. He defended that all documents taken during the search were declassified and had merely been placed in secure storage for safekeeping.
He explained that he would have handed over the files if the Department of Justice had specifically requested them but the New York Times reported that the department ensured to request every additional document from the ex-president which he didn't hand over at the time.
Trump defended the documents found at his Florida estate saying they might have been planted or they were simply declassified. It is uncertain whether an excuse of a "declassified document" will exempt the former president from charges of criminal fraud.
An independent legal official tasked with the responsibility of being a special master in charge of reviewing seized evidence has been appointed by Judge Aileen M Cannon but the justice department argues that an independent officer is not needed for the investigation because the evidence is already being investigated by its investigators.