Lawyers for former President Donald Trump could be in trouble after a report saying the Department of Justice (DOJ) is pushing to hold Trump’s team in contempt of court, accusing them of violating a subpoena.
Federal prosecutors have asked a judge to scorn the former president’s office for allegedly failing to fully comply with a May subpoena to return all classified documents. The Washington Post reported on Thursday. FBI agents recovered over 100 classified documents during the Aug. 8 raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, while it was reported this week that at least two other classified items were recently discovered in one of the former president’s storage rooms.
The request for contempt was reportedly made in part because none of Trump’s attorneys or advisers are currently willing to accept legal responsibility as custodians of records for the former president.
Legal experts have commented on the possibility that Trump’s team could soon face contempt charges, with some suggesting his lawyers could be in a particularly vulnerable position.
“If you’re representing Trump, you wouldn’t want to testify under oath that he returned all the classified materials,” said Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor. tweeted on Thursday.
“Part of the dynamic of the Trump team contempt motion is that the attorneys are afraid to sign certificates of compliance because their client cannot be trusted.” tweeted Harry Litman, attorney and a Los Angeles Times Legal affairs columnist. “From a legal perspective, someone has to certify compliance, and of course the subpoena recipient has to comply.”
“We came here because Trump’s own attorneys are unwilling to testify to the fact that their client did anything [he] really should be doing,” said MSNBC legal analyst Charles F. Coleman Jr. said when broadcasting The Reid Out.
“There is no one on Trump’s legal team who is willing to step up and be a custodian and certify with his license that what he says and testifies is actually true,” he added. “That says a lot about the lack of trust in one’s own client.”
Trump’s attorneys decided not to appeal to the Supreme Court of a recent Court of Appeals decision to end a special scrutiny of documents seized during the Mar-a-Lago raid.
Trump-appointed Judge Aileen Cannon’s previous order had barred the DOJ from using the documents for a possible prosecution for months before Special Master Judge Raymond Dearie completed a review.
The appeals court’s decision went into effect after a deadline for an appeal to the Supreme Court, leaving the DOJ and Special Counsel Jack Smith free to use the documents.
news week has reached out to Trump’s legal team for comment.