Justice Department Wields Crime-Fraud Exception to Pierce Trump’s Attorney-Client Privilege
Federal prosecutors are looking to cut through Former President Donald Trump’s staunch wall of lawyers by using the crime-fraud exception to compel the testimony of his lawyer, M. Evan Corcoran, before a grand jury, the New York Times reports. The crime fraud exception voids legal secrecy when a client has sought a lawyer’s help in the commission of a fraud or crime, and prosecutors have asked a federal judge to invoke the exception.
The move is part of an ongoing investigation into the former president’s handling of classified documents after he left office. Prosecutors leading the probe have also investigated Boris Epshteyn, Trump’s legal adviser whose phone was seized by authorities last month and, per the report, who coordinated lawyers on past Trump investigations.
The Justice Department has been asking witnesses questions, per the report, during which questions about Epshteyn, Christina Bobb, and Alina Habba, were asked. According to the The Times, someone briefed on the interviews said that investigators were interested in discussions about establishing a possible common-interest privilege in the documents probe. The person familiar with the interviews also said that prosecutors are asking questions suggesting they are interested in whether Epshteyn attempted to influence witness testimony.
Bobb, the Trump lawyer who in June signed a letter certifying that all of the sensitive material the former president moved from the White House to Mar-a-Lago had been returned, reportedly told investigators that Epshteyn was involved in discussions about the documents.
In January, a federal judge sanctioned former President Donald Trump and Habba to pay nearly a million dollars for filing a bogus lawsuit against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and more than a dozen of Trump’s perceived political enemies.