Donald Trump Is Legal Jeopardy? Seems Like It
The possibly imminent indictment in New York may be the least of former President Trump’s worries.
ABC News reported Wednesday that prosecutors in the office of Special Counsel Jack Smith “have presented compelling preliminary evidence that former President Donald Trump knowingly and deliberately misled his own attorneys about his retention of classified materials after leaving office.” A judge wrote that last week in a sealed filing.
U.S. Judge Beryl Howell, who retired last week, wrote in a filing that prosecutors have made a “prima facie showing that the former president had committed criminal violations.” The DC Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that judgment on Thursday, after Trump’s side had asked for a stay. That ruling also allowed the appeal to move forward.
At issue was whether or not attorney-client privilege applied in the matter.
The ruling came as a panel of judges ordered Trump attorney Evan Corcoran to comply with a grand jury subpoena. That was the standard to pierce the attorney-client privilege and allow Corcoran to testify under the “crime-fraud exception”; a higher standard is required for actual criminal charges.
CNN then reported later in the day that Corcoran will in fact testify on Friday, and will also be required to turn over documents, including his own notes.
Per CNN, the ruling “adds momentum to the special counsel investigation as it seeks to secure evidence that could make or break a federal criminal case against Trump.”
The news came as there were new developments in the Manhattan case involving Trump, which the former president claimed last week would lead to his arrest as early as this Tuesday.
Trump has not been arrested and in fact, the Manhattan grand jury’s planned meeting on Wednesday was canceled, and it’s unclear if the panel will meet on Thursday.
CBS News cited two sources that the grand jury would reconvene on Thursday. Insider, however, reported Wednesday that the grand jury was unlikely to meet on Thursday. That meant that the proceedings were likely to be delayed until next week.
It’s not clear why the grand jury proceeding has been delayed.
Trump Fires Back
Trump, on Truth Social Wednesday, ripped Bragg.
“How can a highly controversial, George Soros backed District Attorney, Alvin Bragg, who presides over one of the most crime ridden, violent, and dangerous Cities in the U.S., with no retribution toward these heinous criminals, bring charges against the 45th, and quite possibly the 47th, President of the United States, who received more votes than any sitting President in history, over 75,000,000, and who is currently leading all candidates, by a lot, when there is NO CRIME OF ANY KIND???,” the ex-president said on his social network. He also called for Michael Cohen, his former attorney and a key witness in the case, to be “prosecuted for lying.”
According to an NBC News story Wednesday, prosecutors in the district attorney’s office “had been upset with Cohen’s appearance on Ari Melber’s MSNBC show and reached out to his attorney to tell him Cohen should not make any further TV appearances,” although it’s unclear if that issue has anything to do with the delay in the grand jury proceedings.
Attorney Robert Costello, a Trump ally, had testified on Monday before the Manhattan grand jury, who reportedly sought to discredit Cohen’s testimony.
Those are just some of the legal jeopardy Trump is facing. He is also looking at a grand jury in Georgia, which is investigating his attempts to overturn the 2020 election result in that state, as well as the other special counsel investigation, into Trump’s role in the January 6 attack and other attempts to overturn the 2020 election more broadly.
Which is to say nothing of multiple civil suits against the ex-president.
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Expertise and Experience:
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.