As if things couldn't get worse for Donald Trump following the news of his upcoming indictment, Chief Judge Beryl Howell just gave special counsel Jack Smith a gift. Howell handed over notes from Trump's lawyer Evan Corcoran to the Justice Department as she left her role leading the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia as her term ended.
The notes contain what she considered evidence of a crime involving Trump improperly hoarding classified documents after he left office in disgrace.
Via The Daily Beast:
M. Evan Corcoran, a former federal prosecutor, has represented Trump in that classified documents scandal. And while Corcoran already has his hands full as Trump's lawyer, the probe now appears to have put Corcoran in legal jeopardy himself.
According to a source, Corcoran's professional notes about private communications with his client were turned over to Judge Howell, who was conducting an "in camera review"—a carefully controlled screening of confidential records that typically takes place in a judge's chambers.
Judges who come to the conclusion that some legally protected and sensitive material must be turned over to an opposing side normally issue an order directing one side to do it, along with a deadline.
Doing so gives the losing side the ability to appeal to a higher court—and prevent irreversible damage that could forever taint a case, according to two lawyers not involved in the case who spoke to The Daily Beast but asked not to be identified.
But Howell appears to have skipped that careful yet tedious approach—and just handed Smith a batch of documents that may show Trump and one of his lawyers planning a crime.
There must be a lot of ketchupping going on at Mar-a-Lago right now.
On Friday, as part of a sealed proceeding, Howell ordered Corcoran to provide additional testimony to the DOJ, CNN first reported on Friday. She decided that investigators could pierce the typically ironclad blanket of attorney-client privilege because of something called the "crime-fraud exception." In essence, the judge found that whatever legal advice Corcoran gave to Trump was used in furtherance of a crime.
The one-term President took to Truth Social on Saturday and admitted that he would be arrested on Tuesday over his role in the hush money paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels.