Former President Donald Trump was after being indicted last week. He faces 37 counts for his alleged mishandling of classified documents and U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump-appointed judge, will preside over at least the initial proceeding. Here’s what we may expect from his legal team.
Two of Trump’slast Thursday. Attorney Todd Blanche, who is also representing Trump in the criminal , and a yet-to-be-determined firm will now represent him in this case, Trump said.
Trump’s former attorney weighs in
Attorney Tim Parlatore, who said he represented Trump until about a month ago, told CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell he had not spoke to Trump’s current legal team. “It is difficult to represent a client in a case like this, when there are other influences at play. So, that’s why I felt it was best for me to leave. And you know, certainly, I hope that he will find the team that can properly defend him in this case,” Parlatore said.
Attorney General Bill Barr called the indictment very damning. Parlatore said while the 37 charges against Trump brought upon by special counsel and the Department of Justice does look that way, a defense attorney will try to determine if anything in the 44-page indictment is untrue or not “airtight.”
“Maybe there are 30 witnesses that say something, while maybe a couple say something another way, and they will just write what some of the witnesses said instead of the rest,” Parlatore explained.
The crime-fraud exception
He said the “big hurdle” Trump’s defense team will have towith his valet Walt Nauta, who faces one charge for allegedly lying during an FBI interview about the documents. The indictment included text messages from Nauta to other staff members about the documents, where they speak about moving boxes allegedly containing sensitive documents several times.
Other evidence includes messages and testimony from Trump’s former attorney Evan Corcoran, which the DOJ says proves Trump tried to obstruct the federal investigation. Judge Beryl Howell granted a crime-fraud exception, extinguishing Corcoran and Trump’s attorney-client privilege and allowing their correspondents to be used as evidence.
Parlatore said he believes that Howell’s ruling on the exception was wrong and that Trump’s attorneysCorcoran’s testimony. He said the questions asked between Corcoran and Trump in their correspondence were reasonable and within their attorney-client privilege.
In the conversation, Trump says: “I read about when Hillary Clinton got a subpoena and David Kendall deleted 33,000 emails. Are we allowed to do the same thing because they didn’t get into trouble?”
“You want clients to ask you those kinds of questions, you want to encourage them to ask those kinds of questions so you they understand what their rights are, what their responsibilities are, but you want them to discuss that and an attorney-client climate,” he told O’Donnell.
Parlatore said that the precedent set by the special counsel and DOJ’s use of this exchange between a client and attorney is “dangerous and unconstitutional” and that “any attorney who has actually counseled clients who received grand jury subpoenas will look at this with the full context and know there is nothing criminal about that exchange.”
He said Howell did not allow the legal team to appeal the crime-fraud exception ruling and that he thinks Judge Aileen Cannon will decide to reverse the ruling.
But former federal prosecutor Scott Fredricksen said “that evidence is absolutely crucial” in the obstruction case.
“So, it is not a surprise that [Trump’s lawyers] will attack the evidence stemming from Evan Corcoran’s notes,” Frederickson told O’Donnell.