Judge issues statement that Trump misled his lawyers about classified documents as she steps down from position

 March 22, 2023

A district judge wrote in a sealed filing that former President Donald Trump misled his attorneys about his handling of classified documents after leaving office, which nullifies his claims of attorney-client privilege. 

U.S. Judge Beryl Howell stepped down as the D.C. district court's chief judge on Friday, but sources told ABC News that before she did, she wrote that Special Counsel Jack Smith's prosecutors made a "prima facie showing that the former president had committed criminal violations," and that attorney-client privilege claims could therefore be pierced.

According to the unnamed sources, Howell ordered that Trump attorney Evan Corcoran should comply with a subpoena and testify, as well as turn over requested records that Howell says are tied to Trump's alleged "criminal scheme."

Corcoran had claimed attorney-client privilege regarding six different lines of inquiry and refused to testify about any of them. The records include handwritten notes, invoices, and transcripts of audio recordings.

Prima-facie showing

The prima-facie standard states that the special counsel prosecutors had evidence that appeared to show that Trump committed crimes.

A prima-facie showing is not sufficient to pursue charges, however, the judge made clear.

"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," former top national security official in the Justice Department Brandon Van Grack said.

According to Howell, prosecutors found some evidence that Trump had hidden some of the classified documents from Corcoran, and if so, that means Corcoran unintentionally deceived the court.

Further action

The DC court gave both sides until Wednesday at 6 a.m. to respond to the filing.

Trump's campaign appeared to deny the allegations.

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

"Shame on Fake News ABC for broadcasting ILLEGALLY LEAKED false allegations from a Never Trump, now former chief judge, against the Trump legal team," they added.

If the leaked information is true, it could indicate that Trump may be indicted by more than one court.

While all the Trump-haters will love it if Trump is arrested or perp-walked to face charges, they will have to deal with the implications of the indictment(s), which could include a surge in Trump's popularity because his base thinks he is being treated unfairly, as well as stronger calls for President Joe Biden to be held accountable for the classified documents that were found in his possession.

The courts could be opening a big can of worms by indicting Trump, but they don't seem to care as long as they can say they charged him with something.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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