Trump lawyer asked to certify he did not conduct Mar-a-Lago document search | Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s lawyer, Christina Pop, has been instructed to certify to the Justice Department that all key government documents stored at his Mar-a-Lago resort were returned by a grand jury, although she did not search the records.

Certification of subpoena compliance appears to be central to the obstruction of justice criminal investigation. Former US President After that assurance was proven false, an FBI search of the property turned up more than 100 documents that were declassified.

Legend around Mar-a-Lago Courts are increasingly flooded with documents as Trump repeatedly claims the FBI search and the resulting investigation were politically motivated. Meanwhile, the Justice Department and Democrats have portrayed the takeover of the documents as a serious breach of national security.

Bob signed the affidavit as “custodian of records” at the direction of another Trump lawyer, Evan Corcoran, and added caveats to make the announcement less ironclad because he did not conduct the search himself, according to three sources familiar with the matter. .

The certificate was drafted by Corcoran, who also searched Mar-a-Lago Before Justice Department counterintelligence chief Jay Pratt arrived on June 3 to collect a folder of responsive records, Pap was sent for the documents requested by the subpoena, the sources said.

But it is unclear whether the subpoena was fully complied with, Bob told Corcoran to amend the certificate to say that “based on the information provided to me” all documents responsive to the subpoena will be returned after a “thorough” search. , sources said.

It’s not clear why Bob was willing to sign the declaration as a “custodian of records” — as required by a subpoena rather than testimony — when he never fulfilled such a role, and it seemed dangerous. Attesting to her unfinished quest.

It’s also unclear why Corcoran, who has been in contact with the Justice Department for weeks regarding government records at Mar-a-Lago, did not sign the affidavit, according to court filings. Signature.

Bob testified to the Justice Department about the June 3 episode on Friday, detailing Corcoran’s role and additional interactions with Trump’s in-house adviser Boris Epstein, one of the sources said. NBC News previously reported Pope’s testimony.

The situation surrounding subpoena certification is of special interest to the Justice Department as it conducts criminal investigations into possible violations of the Espionage Act, obstruction of justice, and retention of government records.

According to the partially redacted search warrant affidavit and recent court filings, the sticking point in the investigation is whether the letter signed by Bob was intentionally misrepresented so Trump could cover up other classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.

“There may have been attempts to obstruct the government’s investigation,” federal prosecutors said Filed in August court.

But the previously undisclosed details behind the affidavit — and which were accepted as sufficient by the Justice Department on June 3 — could change the dynamics of the embargo investigation and reduce legal exposure if Bob receives false information, former Justice Department officials said.

Even if it changes without notice, the Justice Department sees Bob and Corcoran as witnesses. Petition to the US Court of Appeals For the 11th Circuit, Trump’s attorneys may be “witnesses to relevant events,” the lawyers wrote.

Corcoran did not respond to requests for comment. Both Bob and his criminal defense attorney did not respond to requests for comment, although sources said Bob told associates that the certificate he had signed since an FBI search of the property on Aug. 8 was true.

Bob is considered a consultant on Trump’s legal team, but he was not involved in the Mar-a-Lago documents case and signed an affidavit as “custodian of records” ahead of the FBI search of the property in Florida. “In name only, sources said.

The distinction is important: When signing as a probate rather than an attorney, Bob is not subject to attorney-client privilege protections and can speak more freely.

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