Fearing indictment imminent in classified documents investigation, Trump team requests meeting with DOJ

Fearing indictment imminent in classified documents investigation, Trump team requests meeting with DOJ

Former President Donald Trump’s legal team has formally requested a meeting with Attorney General Merrick Garland, amid fears from his lawyers that the coming weeks could lead to a possible indictment of Trump over his alleged efforts to retain documents after leaving office and to frustrate the government’s attempts to get them back.

The letter, while thin on specifics, makes arguments that Trump should not be charged in the investigation related to his alleged mishandling of classified documents, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.

The letter asks Garland for a meeting as soon as possible to discuss what the lawyers describe as the “continuing injustice that is being perpetrated” by special counsel Jack Smith and says that no president has been subject to an “unfounded investigation” in such an “unlawful” way. “

The one-page letter was signed by Trump attorneys John Rowley and James Trusty and does not outline any specific allegations of wrongdoing by Smith and his team.

The request does not specifically detail what Trump’s legal team wants to discuss with the attorney general. Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing associated with his handling of materials bearing classification marks.

It’s unclear whether Trump’s lawyers are acting on specific knowledge of Smith’s investigation.

Trump posted the letter to his Truth Social account on Tuesday evening.

A spokesperson for Garland and a spokesperson for the Office of Special Counsel both declined to comment to ABC News.

The letter from Trump’s lawyers follows more than a year of negotiations between Trump’s team and the government, culminating in a breach of trust that led to the government’s May 2022 subpoena for alleged charges. documents and his subsequent search for Mar-a-Lago last August. Since then, as ABC News has previously reported, the DOJ and Trump’s attorneys have continued to fight to comply with grand jury subpoenas.

National Archives officials initially asked the Justice Department in early 2022 to investigate Trump’s handling of White House records after the National Archives in January recovered 15 boxes of records from Trump’s resort. in Mar-a-Lago, Florida that had been improperly taken from the White House in violation of the Presidential Records Act.

The DOJ investigation came to a head on August 8, 2022, when Mar-a-Lago was searched by FBI agents. Federal investigators seized more than 100 documents with classified marks during the search, according to an unsealed detailed inventory list. In Trump’s office alone, 43 empty folders were seized with classified banners.

The asset inventory list also showed that officers had collected more than 11,000 documents or photographs with no classification markings, all described as belonging to the US government.

Since the August search, Trump and his legal team have found additional classified documents and received additional subpoenas for information the government says may still be in Trump’s possession.

As ABC News first reported in March, prosecutors with the Special Counsel’s Office presented compelling preliminary evidence that Trump knowingly and deliberately misled his own lawyers about his retention of classified documents after having left office, according to sources who described the contents of a sealed file from a senior federal judge.

In a sealed March filing, Judge Beryl Howell ordered Trump’s lawyer, Evan Corcoran, to comply with a grand jury subpoena for testimony on which he had previously asserted solicitor-client privilege. . Sources said Howell ordered Corcoran to turn over a number of documents related to what she described as Trump’s alleged “criminal plan”, echoing prosecutors. These files included handwritten notes, invoices and transcripts of personal audio recordings.

Trump’s lawyers’ request for a meeting comes as infighting within Trump’s legal team has spilled over into the public eye.

Over the weekend, former Trump lawyer Tim Parlatore – who left Trump’s legal team last week – publicly lambasted a current Trump lawyer, alleging Boris Epshteyn tried to interfere with additional searches for classified documents at Trump properties.

“In my opinion, he wasn’t very honest with us or with the client about certain things. There were certain things like research that he tried to interfere with,” Parlatore said during an appearance on CNN Saturday. Parlatore added that Epshteyn, who served as something of a liaison between the attorneys, made it more difficult to defend Trump.

A Trump campaign spokesperson said in a statement that Parlatore’s claims were “categorically untrue.”

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