M. Evan Corcoran, an attorney for former President Donald Trump, was ordered to testify before a grand jury reviewing the handling of sensitive documents found at Mar-a-Lago, CNN reported.
In a sealed ruling on Friday, Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., said she received sufficient evidence that Corcoran provided legal advice in furtherance of a crime.
Corcoran had previously testified to the grand jury but declined to answer certain questions by invoking attorney-client privilege. However, prosecutors argued that his discussions with Trump may have been part of an attempt to plan a crime.
The decision is a significant victory for special counsel John L. Smith, whom Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed in November to lead the Justice Department's investigation into the classified files.
CNN noted that the scope of what prosecutors will be allowed to ask Corcoran is currently unclear, with the Trump team expected to appeal the decision and ask for a temporary stay during legal proceedings.
"Whenever prosecutors target the attorneys, that's usually a good indication their underlying case is very weak," a Trump spokesperson told the network.
"If they had a real case, they wouldn't need to play corrupt games with the Constitution. Every American has the right to consult with counsel and have candid discussions — this promotes adherence to the law," the spokesperson added.
Corcoran has been one of the lead attorneys representing Trump in the case thus far. He was part of negotiations for the files even before the raid at the former president's Mar-a-Lago residence in August, per The Washington Post.
In June, the lawyer handed over some 38 documents from the resort, claiming that a diligent search had been conducted and no more documents were present.
But the August FBI raid found hundreds of classified material, leading to Corcoran's becoming a witness in the probe.
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