The case surrounding former President Donald Trump's handling of classified documents continues to escalate while the Manhattan District Attorney's Office weighs whether to indict the 2024 GOP presidential hopeful on a separate legal matter.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday stayed an order from then-Chief Judge Beryl Howell that would have compelled Trump attorney Evan Corcoran to testify again before a federal grand jury looking into the former president’s handling of the classified documents, Fox News has confirmed.
Both the special counsel and the Trump legal team were asked for responses regarding Corcoran's testimony. Trump’s legal team submitted filings as required before midnight and DOJ met the 6 a.m. deadline Wednesday.
The court's decision comes after Howell – whose role as chief judge expired over the weekend when the rotating position was given to Judge James Boasberg – sided with federal investigators and issued an order moving Corcoran to testify in detail about conversations he had with Trump over documents later seized by the FBI at his Mar-A-Lago Florida estate last summer.
TRUMP FORCEFULLY DISPUTES ‘FAKE’ ABC NEWS REPORT HE 'MISLED' HIS ATTORNEYS CONCERNING CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS
Before the August FBI search, Corcoran had claimed in June that Trump’s team had found no more classified material after a "diligent" search of the premises. Hundreds more documents were found at the estate after that statement, according to the Justice Department.
Sources say Corcoran had initially refused to speak with the federal grand jury about several crucial matters. Special Counsel Jack Smith then asked Howell to decide whether the "crime-fraud" exception to attorney-client privilege could compel Corcoran’s further testimony. That testimony exception would apply to alleged conversations related to a possible plan to commit a crime.
"Prosecutors only attack lawyers when they have no case whatsoever," the Trump campaign said in a statement about the matter, arguing that an ABC News report claiming he "misled his attorneys" is "disinformation."
"These leaks are happening because there is no factual or legal basis or substance to any case against President Trump," the campaign added. "The deranged Democrats and their comrades in the mainstream media are corrupting the legal process and weaponizing the justice system in order to manipulate public opinion, because they are clearly losing the political battle."
MAR-A-LAGO STAFFERS SUBPOENAED FOR TRUMP CLASSIFIED DOCUMENT INVESTIGATION
The news surrounding the investigation into Trump's handling of the documents comes as Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg weighs a potential indictment of the former president during his third run for the White House.
An indictment, if handed down from a grand jury, could come as early as Wednesday, a source told Fox News. The earliest Trump could appear in court if charged would be next week. If indicted, the U.S. Secret Service and the New York Police Department would discuss how the former president would surrender.
Trump said Tuesday evening that he had not been formally notified about plans to bring charges against him, sources familiar told Fox News Digital, amid speculation of a possible imminent indictment.
Sources told Fox News, however, that there remains a real chance that Bragg may choose not to indict the former president.
The possible charges stem from the $130,000 hush-money payment that then-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election in exchange for her silence about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump in 2006. Trump denies that he had sex with Daniels.
Trump would be the first former president in U.S. history to face criminal charges if Bragg's office levels them. The potential indictment is expected to allege campaign finance infractions relating to records keeping, what some call a slim pretext for such a high-profile case.
Fox News' Anders Hagstrom and Brooke Singman contributed to this article.