IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Trump, Pence lawyers go before judge in dispute with DOJ over testimony

One Trump lawyer seen entering the courthouse Thursday was Evan Corcoran, who's battling a separate attempt to force him to testify before the grand jury.
Donald Trump's attorneys Evan Corcoran arrives at Brooklyn Federal Court on Sept. 20, 2022, in New York.
Donald Trump's attorney Evan Corcoran arrives at Brooklyn Federal Court on Sept. 20.Brittainy Newman / AP file

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., heard arguments Thursday about whether former Vice President Mike Pence must testify before a grand jury about his dealings with then-President Donald Trump around Jan. 6, 2021.

Among the attorneys representing Trump was Evan Corcoran, who's been involved in his own legal bid to avoid testifying before the grand jury.

Lawyers for Pence and Trump were seen going into a closed-door hearing before the court's new chief judge, James “Jeb” Boasberg, late in the morning. Boasberg is presiding over legal disputes involving special counsel Jack Smith's dual investigation into Trump's role in the attack on the U.S. Capitol and handling of documents with classified markings in his Florida home.

They were seen leaving the courthouse roughly 90 minutes later.

Smith issued a subpoena for Pence's testimony last month.

Lawyers for Trump argue Pence can't testify about their dealings surrounding the riot at the U.S. Capitol because of executive privilege. Pence has argued he's immune from testifying because of legal protections for lawmakers, because he was acting as president of the Senate during the Jan. 6 Electoral College vote count rather than as a member of the executive branch.

Filings and hearings in the case have been kept under seal.

Corcoran has separately been fighting Smith's attempts to force him to testify about his own dealings with Trump in the documents case.

Boasberg's predecessor, Judge Beryl Howell, ruled last week that Corcoran must testify under the “crime fraud” exception, which would let prosecutors sidestep protections afforded to Trump through attorney-client privilege.

Corcoran appealed the ruling; the appeals court denied the bid late Wednesday, records show.

He's expected to testify before the panel as soon as Friday.

NBC News reported in mid-February that Smith had been seeking to compel Corcoran to testify.

Corcoran had instructed another Trump lawyer, Christina Bobb, to sign a written statement in June — after Trump was hit with a subpoena demanding the return of government documents — asserting to Justice Department officials that a diligent search for classified documents at Trump's Florida home had turned up no more material. 

The FBI searched the property with a warrant in August and found over 100 additional documents with classified markings.