Former President Donald Trump’s legal defense team and prosecutors handling the investigation into the Mar-a-Lago documents are at the federal courthouse in Washington DC on Thursday morning in a secret dispute related to the unprecedented investigation.
CNN saw the lawyers — including James Trusty, Evan Corcoran and Lindsey Halligan for Trump, and Justice Department prosecutor Julie Edelstein and several others known to be on the case — heading into a sealed case before Chief Federal Judge Beryl Howell . courthouse Thursday.
The hearing appears to be still ongoing, and their appearance in Washington is notable because this legal team typically appears in court in Florida or New York in connection with the document investigation.
The development is the latest sign that prosecutors are trying to move their investigation forward into the handling of documents from the Trump presidency after he left office.
Trump’s lawyers declined to tell reporters at the scene why they were at the courthouse.
Although Trump’s challenges to the August Mar-a-Lago search and seizure have been before judges in Florida, a federal grand jury in Washington, DC, appears to be handling the criminal investigation into obstruction of justice and wrongdoing processing of records, including national security secrets.
Close Trump adviser Kash Patel, who has been appointed to work on his posts after the presidency, previously appeared before this grand jury two weeks ago and took the Fifth Amendment, refusing to answer questions, another sign of prosecutors who continue to build their case, CNN reported.
In addition, the Justice Department has demanded that any sensitive records that may still be in Trump’s possession be returned to the federal government.
At least some of that battle to secure the return of more documents is part of a lawsuit under seal, CNN previously reported.
Howell, of the U.S. District Court in D.C., typically handles disputes arising from grand jury cases that are kept secret.
A potential resolution to the known issue Trump lawyers are responding to in the Mar-a-Lago investigation could involve the Justice Department asking a judge to issue an order forcing the Trump team to cooperate with the DOJ to arrange a new search, according to CNN reporting.