Former President Donald Trump was warned by one of his lawyers in May of last year that the FBI could search his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida if he didn’t comply with a grand jury subpoena that requested the return of classified documents, NBC News has confirmed.
Trump was informed of the possibility of an FBI search by attorney Evan Corcoran, who met with Trump at Mar-a-Lago shortly after the subpoena was issued, ABC News first reported on Wednesday.
Corcoran detailed their meeting in a series of voice memos on his phone the following day, according to ABC, which said it reviewed copies of transcripts of the recordings.
Corcoran also noted in the recordings that minutes after he had met with Trump, he met with another lawyer of the former president by a Mar-a-Lago pool who warned that Trump is “just going to go ballistic” if Corcoran pushed Trump to comply with the subpoena, ABC reported.
NBC News has not seen copies of the transcripts or heard the audio of Corcoran’s recordings, but confirmed with a source familiar with the matter the existence of the transcript of the voice memo dealing with Corcoran’s warning Trump of a potential FBI search of Mar-a-Lago. Trump’s presidential campaign and Corcoran did not immediately respond to NBC News’ requests for comment.
In a statement to ABC News, Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung appeared to dismiss the report.
“The attorney-client privilege is one of the oldest and most fundamental principles in our legal system, and its primary purpose is to promote the rule of law,” he said. “Whether attorneys’ notes are detailed or not makes no difference — these notes reflect the legal opinions and thoughts of the lawyer, not the client.”
Trump “offered full cooperation with DOJ, and told the key DOJ official, in person, ‘Anything you need from us, just let us know,'” Cheung added.
The FBI, however, ultimately searched the Florida estate on Aug. 8, 2022 and recovered more than 100 classified documents. At the time, Trump described the search as an “unannounced raid on my home” that he said “was not necessary or appropriate.
“These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,” Trump said in a statement at the time.
Corcoran’s voice memos have become a key piece of evidence in special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents, ABC News reported. The probe led to Trump initially being charged in June in a 37-count federal indictment, accusing him of willfully retaining national defense information, making false statements and representations, conspiring to obstruct justice, withholding a document or record, corruptly concealing a document, concealing a document in a federal investigation and a scheming to conceal.
The indictment appears to cite from Corcoran’s notes and testimony statements that Trump made about the boxes of classified documents, although Corcoran is not named in the document.
“I don’t want anybody looking, I don’t want anybody looking through my boxes, I really don’t, I don’t want you looking through my boxes,” Trump allegedly said, according to the indictment, which noted that one of the attorneys had “memorialized” the former president’s statements.
“Well what if we, what happens if we just don’t respond at all or don’t play ball with them?” Trump also said, according to the indictment.
“Wouldn’t it be better if we just told them we don’t have anything here?” he said, according to the document.
At the end of July, a superseding federal indictment was filed that also brought new charges against Trump in the case, alleging that he was part of a scheme to delete security video to try to cover up efforts to hide the classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.
Asked about the voice memos, a spokesperson for the special counsel’s office told NBC on Wednesday that they declined to comment beyond the what was in the indictment in the case.
The federal judge overseeing the case decided in July that the criminal trial will begin on May 20 of next year in Fort Pierce, Florida.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com