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Justice Department tells court there’s evidence of a crime in bid to force more answers from Trump attorney

<i>Alex Kent/Getty Images/FILE</i><br/>Federal prosecutors investigating former President Donald Trump's handling of classified documents are asking a court to force his attorney Evan Corcoran
Getty Images
Alex Kent/Getty Images/FILE
Federal prosecutors investigating former President Donald Trump's handling of classified documents are asking a court to force his attorney Evan Corcoran

By Kaitlan Collins, Katelyn Polantz and Kristen Holmes, CNN

Federal prosecutors investigating former President Donald Trump‘s handling of classified documents are asking a court to force his attorney Evan Corcoran to provide additional testimony, two sources familiar with the Justice Department’s motion told CNN.

To overcome the shield of attorney-client privilege, prosecutors alleged in writing to the judge that the former president used his attorney in furtherance of a crime or fraud, according to one source.

The move represents the most aggressive yet by special counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the investigation. The case and filing remain under seal.

Corcoran recently appeared before the grand jury for roughly four hours and is the third attorney to testify before the grand jury. He has not yet appeared a second time, and it remains to be seen if he ultimately does.

The New York Times first reported on the effort to compel Corcoran.

It was unclear on Tuesday whether the Justice Department has developed new evidence to argue there was criminal planning, or whether prosecutors are resting on the same arguments made when prosecutors sought a search warrant for Mar-a-Lago last year. At that time, they had cause to believe federal records were moved or concealed within the beach club, and they have been investigating both mishandling of national security records and obstruction of justice.

A spokesman for the special counsel’s office declined to comment to CNN.

A Trump spokesperson said the move was “nothing more than a targeted, politically motivated witch hunt against President Trump, concocted to try and prevent the American people from returning him to the White House.”

CNN previously reported that Corcoran first testified to the grand jury last month when he was asked about what happened in the lead-up to the August search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, a person familiar with the situation said.

Corcoran declined to answer some questions before the grand jury that would have divulged his advice to Trump and their conversations, citing attorney-client privilege, the source added.

Corcoran had drafted a statement in June that attested Trump’s team had done a “diligent search” and there were no more classified documents at Trump’s Florida residence.

After that, the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago and found hundreds of government records, including classified material. The Trump team found even more classified material in subsequent searches they conducted and turned what they found over to the Justice Department.

This story has been updated with additional details.

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