Oh no, more legal trouble for Donald Trump in one of the cases that DOES NOT involve secret porn peener payoffs to Stormy Daniels? But can his delicate heart handle all that right now?
ABC News dropped the scoop last night. Federal Judge Beryl Howell ruled that special counsel Jack Smith has shown he has evidence Donald Trump “intentionally concealed” from his own lawyers — lied to them, in other words — that he was hiding various and sundry classified documents and intimate state secrets inside his great big underpants at Mar-a-Lago. This would invoke the infamous “crime-fraud exception,” i.e. if the communications with attorneys help the defendant do crimes or frauds, then bye bye, attorney-client privilege!
Is that bad?
Howell, who is finishing up her time supervising this grand jury, wrote last Friday in a sealed filing that prosecutors made a “prima facie showing that the former president had committed criminal violations.”
In her sealed filing, Howell ordered that Evan Corcoran, an attorney for Trump, should comply with a grand jury subpoena for testimony on six separate lines of inquiry over which he had previously asserted attorney-client privilege.
Sources added that Howell also ordered Corcoran to hand over a number of records tied to what Howell described as Trump’s alleged “criminal scheme,” echoing prosecutors. Those records include handwritten notes, invoices, and transcriptions of personal audio recordings. […]
In reaching the so-called prima facie standard to pierce Corcoran’s privilege, Howell agreed prosecutors made a sufficient showing that on its face would appear to show Trump committed crimes. The judge made it clear that prosecutors would still need to meet a higher standard of evidence in order to seek charges against Trump, and more still to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
In other words, their evidence is good enough and they’ve cleared the bar to move forward from here. We would note that lawyers on Twitter are noticing where it says Corcoran specifically needs to hand over transcriptions of audio recordings, and wondering what exactly is in there, and if it could be something of a smoking gun variety. They are also pointing out that if you lie to your own lawyers, it kind of ruins any defense you plan to offer that you were acting on advice of counsel.
The Trump campaign has responded by yelling at, um, ABC News, for breaking the story:
In response to ABC News, a Trump campaign spokesperson said, in part, “Shame on Fake News ABC for broadcasting ILLEGALLY LEAKED false allegations from a Never Trump, now former chief judge, against the Trump legal team.”
“The real story here, that Fake News ABC SHOULD be reporting on, is that prosecutors only attack lawyers when they have no case whatsoever,” the spokesperson said.
The campaign’s statement also includes the sentence, “This disinformation is on par with their breathless Russia, Russia, Russia, Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine and ‘no-collusion’ Mueller speculation, all of which were totally disproven.” Truly, these people are halfwits, and the babbling continues from there.
The time period we’re dealing with here is last summer, before the feds showed up at Mar-a-Lago and politely searched the place. In June Trump’s lawyers told the grand jury they had searched every nook and cranny and came up with 38 classified docs, all safe and sound and stored securely. When the feds showed up in August, they found a shitload more — over 100, in fact — and they were all over the damn place. The question here has been who was lying? The lawyers who made that representation? Or Trump to his lawyers?
So Howell ordered Evan Corcoran and also another Trump lawyer, Jennifer Little, to testify to the grand jury.
All of this sounds like quite the pickle for Trump!
Politico reports that the DC Circuit Court of Appeals put Howell’s order on hold late last night, and gave Trump’s lawyers a midnight deadline and the special counsel’s team a 6:00 a.m. deadline to file their arguments over whether Howell’s ruling should be stayed while appeals play out. They made their deadlines.
Without getting too deep in the muck of these sealed filings and proceedings, that is fast. How fast? INSANE fast. How insane fast? FUCKING fast.
Could the shit very soon hit the fan in the case over the highly sensitive state secrets and other classified documents Trump stole and then proceeded to hide?
We shall see, we shall see.
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