Justice Department prosecutors have been poring over detailed notes from an attorney for Donald Trump on the Mar-a-Lago case to bolster their case that the former president may have committed obstruction of justice.
The notes from Evan Corcoran, who has since ceased representing Trump on the matter, show he explained to Trump that a 2022 subpoena meant he could not keep any classified records, with Trump wishing to fight the effort to compel the documents, according to reporting from The Guardian and CNN.
Corcoran conducted a search of Mar-a-Lago last June, turning over about 40 classified documents found in a storage room in Trump’s Florida home. But authorities would go on to find more than 100 more such records, despite Corcoran’s drafting of a statement indicating all records had been turned over after a “diligent search.”
Prosecutors have focused on why so many records remained on the property after Corcoran’s search, including the role of Walt Nauta, an aide to Trump who was seen on Mar-a-Lago security camera footage moving boxes in and out of the storage room.
People familiar with the notes, spread out over 50 pages, described them to the two outlets. The Justice Department secured the notes after Corcoran was ordered by a judge to testify in the matter, a remarkable ruling that stripped attorney-client communication privileges after determining Trump may have used Corcoran’s legal advice in furthering a crime.
Corcoran remains retained by Trump in the broader special counsel investigation into Jan. 6.
In addition to the warning offered to Trump, Corcoran’s notes detail the former president’s reactions, including his facial expressions during the conversation.
The notes also provide insight into Trump’s and Nauta’s knowledge of Corcoran’s activities, including when and where he planned to conduct his search for classified records.
Nauta was informed when Corcoran needed him to unlock the storage room, with the aide reportedly offering to help search the boxes, an offer the attorney declined.
Prosecutors have also subpoenaed Matthew Calamari Sr. and his son, Matthew Calamari Jr., who both worked on security issues at the Trump Organization, to discuss security footage taken at Mar-a-Lago, including apparent gaps. Both testified to the grand jury earlier this month.
Trump’s team has repeatedly called the investigation a “politically motivated witch hunt.”
Another former Trump attorney defended the former president over the weekend, saying moving boxes is not evidence of obstruction of justice.
“The fact that someone is moving boxes is not evidence of obstruction, it’s evidence of an operating business … because this is during the time period when he should be reviewing documents anyway to determine what is personal and what is presidential as part of the Presidential Records Act. There is nothing wrong with that,” Tim Parlatore, who left Trump’s legal team last week, said in a Sunday appearance on CNN.
Separately, the Justice Department has subpoenaed records of business deals Trump’s company made with seven countries since he took office in 2017.
The subpoena seeks information about real estate and development deals the Trump Organization had with China, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
–Updated on May 24 at 10:37 a.m.