An appeals court on Friday ruled that Evan Corcoran, an attorney for former President Donald Trump, must testify on whether Trump misled him about classified documents found at his Mar-a-Largo home last year. File Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo
March 23 (UPI) -- A federal appeals court panel on Wednesday upheld a lower court's decision to force an attorney for former President Donald Trump to testify on whether Trump misled him about classified documents found at his Mar-a-Largo home last year.
In an unreleased order, the three-judge panel declined the request by Trump's attorneys to overturn a ruling by U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ordering Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran to testify in the case, ABC News, Politico and USA Today reported.
The appeals court quickly made the decision to block the request, ordering Trump's attorneys to comply with Howell's order and "produce documents" while setting a deadline of April 21 for Trump's lawyers and May 8 for the Justice Department to file further appeals in the case, USA Today reported.
Howell, from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, ruled earlier that Corcoran can testify under a narrow line of questions related to Trump's handling of classified documents in a rare bypass of attorney-client privilege.
Trump had argued that communications between him and lawyer Evan Corcoran are protected by attorney-client privilege, but federal prosecutors alleged that some of those conversations include criminal activity that is not covered under such privileges.
ABC News had reported that Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is running the federal grand jury investigation, believes Trump intentionally misled his attorneys about classified documents he retained after leaving the White House.
Trump's 2024 campaign dismissed that report as "fake news" and described Howell as a "Never Trump" judge.
"These leaks are happening because there is no factual or legal basis or substance to any case against President Trump," Trump's campaign said.
The grand jury is investigating the long-running fight between Trump and the National Archives, which is trying to obtain hundreds of government records found at Trump's Florida estate.
The National Archives asked the FBI for assistance in searching for classified records after Trump's aides returned 15 boxes of records in January 2022. That led to the unprecedented search of Mar-a-Lago later that summer.