OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A former attorney for Donald Trump has laid out the grand jury process that was used to indict the former president and has predicted that his current legal team will make “serious allegations” of “prosecutorial misconduct” against special counsel Jack Smith and his prosecutors.
In an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham this week, attorney Timothy Paraltore even predicted that the case might not even make it to trial.
Here’s a partial transcript of the exchange, with a video at the end:
TIMOTHY PARLATORE: You know, litigating these types of cases against DOJ, as I usually do, this team acted so radically different from every professional U.S. Attorney’s office that I’ve ever dealt with. They’ve shown no regard whatsoever for attorney-client privilege. And it’s more than just the issue of Evan Corcoran. I went before the grand jury myself, not subpoenaed, I went in voluntarily… They wanted to hear about the searches that we did for additional documents. They wanted some staffer from Mar-a-Lago to go down who wasn’t going to be able to really talk about it, so I voluntarily went in because as a criminal lawyer, the opportunity to speak directly to the grand jury, I wanted that opportunity.
45 separate times. I can’t make that number up. I actually counted, 45 separate times, they asked me about my conversations with my client, and at one point we kept getting into this fight because they kept implying, “Oh, you’re keeping this from the grand jury. You won’t let them know this.”
No, the ethics rules prohibit me from saying this… What they actually did when I was there is they said one of the exceptions is “waiver.” Well, if President Trump’s being so cooperative, why won’t he waive privilege and let you tell us all about his conversations? When they go to the crime/fraud exception, as you mentioned there, the litigation over Evan Corcoran’s notes, that all happened in the context of the grand jury where they made a motion, we had to respond to it. We weren’t allowed to we were to read their motion because it is covered under grand jury secrecy. We responded to it as best we could. They put in their reply, which we couldn’t see.
We go into the hearing, we made the argument, and turn to the government: “Government, how do you respond?” “Tell them to leave the room.” We got kicked out.
We come back in. Well, how do you respond to what they just said? Jim Trsuty is sitting there saying, “Respond to what? I don’t know what responding to.” And, so ultimately, you get a decision which even that we couldn’t really read because most of that was redacted, saying that there is this crime/fraud exception.
And so all of a sudden, Evan’s notes go over to the government.
LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS: What would have happened if they didn’t have those notes? How critical were those notes to this prosecution?
TIMOTHY PARLATORE: To me, those notes are, they don’t reveal anything seriously critical. What they do reveal is ordinary attorney-client communications, which they then used to try and taint the grand jury, they then use to put into their indictment things that should never be said outside of an attorney-client communication setting, to try separate Evan Corcoran from the legal team, so he becomes a witness instead of a lawyer.
LAURA INGRAHAM: They wanted to turn him against President Trump?
TIMOTHY PARLATORE: Yeah.
LAURA INGRAHAM: How poisonous is this to the legal process, if you can’t, especially someone like the president, who’s been such a target for so many years, you can’t actually hire attorneys and expect that the government’s not going to try to flip them against you, using whatever means necessary?
TIMOTHY PARALTORE: The precedent that Jack Smith is trying to set here is that when clients ask us questions, they didn’t go to law school, they have to ask us, are we allowed to — what are we allowed to do? What do we have to do?
And in this case, President Trump says, “Hey, I read about Hillary Clinton and her lawyer David Kendall deleted 33,000 emails.” Can we do the same thing? And under Jack Smith’s rule any question the client asks, if we say, no, you can’t do that. That’s a crime.
LAURA INGRAHAM: Oh, my God. I mean, this just upends all of the attorney-client privilege ethics rules that I ever learned in law school.
TIMOTHY PARALTORE: It does. And I believe this case, there’s going to be serious litigation in the pretrial stage over prosecutorial misconduct by this team, which could entirely upend this case.
We may never get to a trial, we may never actually have to address any of the substantive issues because of the misconduct of Jack Smith and his team.