There have only been two charges filed indicting former President Donald J. Trump — one brought by Manhattan’s district attorney is the other by a Justice Department special counsel — charge him with very different crimes but have something in common: Both were based, at least in part, on the words of his own lawyers.
Some of the strongest evidence in the 49-page federal complaint accusing him of keeping classified documents even after leaving the White House, and of conspiring to stop government attempts to recover them came from the notes he made. by M. Evan Corcoran.
Mr. Corcoran’s notes, first recorded into an iPhone and then transcribed on paper, essentially gave prosecutors a The road map of building their case Mr. TrumpIndictment states that Corcoran was pressured to prevent investigators from recovering reams classified documents. It even said it would be best to lie and hide the information.
Over the course of last year, we have seen Mr. Trump’s objections, the special counsel overseeing the investigation, Jack Smith, obtained the notes through an invocation of the crime-fraud exception. This exception is a provision of the law that allows prosecutors to work around the normal protections of attorney-client privilege if they have reason to believe and can demonstrate to a You can judge it. a The client sought legal counsel to help them further. a crime.
The ruling agreeing to the Justice Department’s request by The investigation’s outcome and shape were largely determined by Judge Beryl Howell. She was the Chief Justice of the Federal District Court of Washington at the time.
Mr. Trump’s legal fate could now hinge on testimony and evidence from two men he paid to defend him: Mr. Corcoran, who is still a Michael D. Cohen is a member of Michael D. Cohen’s legal team. a former lawyer for Mr. Trump who has helped prosecutors in New York with their case related to the former president’s payment of hush money to a Before the 2016 presidential election, a pornstar was spotted. Cohen admitted to several federal charges including one relating to a campaign finance violation, in 2018. Mr. Corcoran was not charged with any crime.
Their complicated involvement in the two cases reflects the perils of the former president’s long habit of viewing lawyers as attack dogs or even political bosses rather than as advocates bound by Ethics rules
He is now in his late seventies. Trump The search for a lawyer who mentors, protects and, as he puts it, “brutalized” Roy M. Cohn was a ruthless man who was eventually disbarred.
Mr. Trump The case is scheduled to be heard in Miami federal court on Tuesday.
After the arrest of Mr. Trump When the sealed notes were unveiled on Friday it was immediately apparent that they contained notes. by Mr. Corcoran — identified as “Trump Attorney 1” — were far more extensive, and far more damaging, than previously known.
“What happens if we just don’t respond at all or don’t play ball with them?” Mr. Corcoran quotes Mr. Trump At one point I quoted the following: “government officials are trying to enforce” a Documents can be demanded to be returned by subpoena.
Indictment notes show how much evidence was gathered from Corcoran’s inner circle. Along with Mr. Corcoran’s notes, prosecutors drew upon text messages from a Number of employees a Recordings of him by A saviour. Prosecutors Seized phones and documents subpoenaed from a His advisers are a large group.
Since the early 1990s, Mr. Trump’s circle have shaped investigators’ understanding in different inquiries.
Cohen testified in New York’s case involving the payment of hush funds to the pornstar. Stormy Daniels was paid by Mr. Cohen, who then received reimbursement. by Mr. Trump Over time, both records and testimony have shown. He is now the prosecution’s star witness.
But when Mr. Corcoran’s testimony and notes became a Key factor in the Documents Case, Mr. Trump He made it clear that he thought his attorneys were somehow immune from legal scrutiny.
“I always used to think that attorneys really had a very high status in life, that when you had an attorney, that attorneys can’t be subpoenaed, they can’t be summoned to talk,” Mr. Trump told Newsmax in March after Judge Howell’s ruling. He complained about the fact that Mr. Corcoran was forced to testify as part of the investigation into documents. “They bring attorneys in as though they’re, you know, witnesses to a case. It wasn’t supposed to be that way.”
The team was recommended to include Mr. Corcoran by Mr. Trump’s legal adviser Boris Epshteyn, could potentially be a Key witness in the event of a trial.
The special counsel’s continuing investigation into Mr. Trump’s efforts to cling to power after he lost the 2020 election has included testimony from key advisers to the former president, as did the House select committee investigation into the matter.
Mr. Trump He has complained for years about people taking notes on his behalf. But The New York Times had reported that Mr. Corcoran’s notes were copious, dictated into the Voice Memos app on his iPhone after a Meeting with Mr. Trump About the subpoena that was issued by May 2022 demanding any classified papers he had in Mar-2022.a-Lago.
The judge wrote in her memo of law that the prosecutors presented convincing evidence that Corcoran had been misled. by The client who left his lawyer a “blinkered” View of where the remaining documents are stored.
“The government has sufficiently demonstrated all three elements” One of the obstruction laws “by providing evidence that the former president intentionally concealed the existence of additional documents bearing classification markings from Corcoran, knowing that such deception would result in Corcoran providing an unknowingly false representation to the government,” The judge’s 86-page memo was written by the court, according to a Person briefed about its content.
According to his notes, at one point Mr. Trump expressed concern about Mr. Corcoran sorting through the materials in the boxes he had taken from the White House, even though he had brought Mr. Corcoran on specifically to handle the Justice Department’s efforts to recover all material Mr. Trump It is possible that you still may have.
“I don’t want anybody looking through my boxes, I really don’t,” Quote from Mr. Trump Sayings “I don’t want you looking through my boxes.”
One of the worst passages in the notes is when Mr. Corcoran describes the way Mr. Trump Make sure you have the right tools to make your own a “plucking motion” He had placed 40 documents of secret information in his pocket. a Prepare the folders for submission to federal authorities in compliance with a Subpoena which demanded that all classified documents be returned to Mr. Trump’s possession.
In his notes Mr. Corcoran wrote that the gesture led him to believe Mr. Trump I suggested that he take the folder back to his office “hotel room and if there’s anything really bad in there, like, you know, pluck it out.”
In a second revealing exchange, Mr. Trump He hoped to convey to his attorney what he expected of him from the former President, Mr. Trump Mr. Clinton spoke highly of an attorney who was not named, and who represented Hillary Clinton when she served as secretary of State. Mr. Trump claimed that the lawyer had taken responsibility for deleting emails from her private server for her, an issue that prompted an F.B.I. Her handling of official material was investigated by the F.B.I.
“He was great, he did a great job,” Mr. Trump said, according to Mr. Corcoran’s retelling in the indictment. “He said that it — that it was him. That he was the one who deleted all of her emails, the 30,000 emails, because they basically dealt with her scheduling and her going to the gym and her having beauty appointments. And he was great. And he, so she didn’t get in any trouble because he said that he was the one who deleted them.”
Evidence is not limited to the potential for proving a crime. a jury, Mr. Corcoran’s notes could prove useful to prosecutors in what is sure to be a contentious pretrial period marked by Moves of Mr. Trump’s lawyers to dismiss the case for various reasons.
This could include a number of different dismissal efforts. a so-called selective prosecuting motion, asserting that Mr. Trump When you have been charged unfairly a Even though a figure such as Hillary Clinton had been investigated by the FBI for handling classified material, she was never indicted.
Mr. Corcoran’s detailed accounts of how Mr. Trump sought to avoid handing back any classified material could be powerful evidence of his obstruction of the government’s investigation and, for that reason, serve to distinguish his case from Mrs. Clinton’s.