“Trump lawyers turning against each other”: Trump attorney throws colleagues under the bus to DOJ

Christina Bobb made clear in an interview with the DOJ she does not want to be the "fall guy — or gal"

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published October 11, 2022 9:11AM (EDT)

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Legacy Sports USA on October 09, 2022 in Mesa, Arizona.  (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Legacy Sports USA on October 09, 2022 in Mesa, Arizona. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Trump attorney Christina Bobb, who signed a document wrongly affirming that all sensitive records from Mar-a-Lago had been returned, spoke with federal investigators on Friday and pointed fingers at two other Trump lawyers, according to NBC News.

Bobb, a former OAN host who recently hired her own lawyer, signed a certification statement on June 3 stating that all sensitive materials taken by former President Donald Trump to Mar-a-Lago had been returned to the National Archives. But the claim was false and the FBI ultimately received more evidence that Trump still had sensitive documents after the fact. Agents found more than 100 documents marked classified in an August 8 search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence.

Bobb, who served as Trump's custodian of record, has said that she was not acting as Trump's attorney at the time. During her interview with the DOJ on Friday, she pointed the finger at fellow Trump attorneys Evan Corcoran and Boris Epshteyn, according to NBC.

Bobb "did not draft the statement," sources told NBC. She told investigators that Corcoran drafted it and told her to sign it. She also told investigators that Ephsteyn, whose phone was seized last month by the FBI, was also "minimally involved in discussions about the records," according to the report.

Bobb told investigators that before signing the document she insisted it be rewritten to include a disclaimer that she was only certifying that Trump had returned all of the records "based upon the information that has been provided to me." She identified Corcoran as the source of that "information," according to NBC.

"She had to insist on that disclaimer twice before she signed it," an unidentified source familiar with Bobb's interview told the outlet.

The source added that Bobb spoke to the DOJ without an immunity deal. She spoke with investigators, not the grand jury investigating Trump, according to the report.

"She is not criminally liable," the source said. "She is not going to be charged. She is not pointing fingers. She is simply a witness for the truth."

The document signed by Bobb said that a "diligent search was conducted" for all of the records. The DOJ cited the statement in a court filing in August.

"That the FBI, in a matter of hours, recovered twice as many documents with classification markings as the 'diligent search' that the former President's counsel and other representatives had weeks to perform calls into serious question the representations made in the June 3 certification and casts doubt on the extent of cooperation in this matter," prosecutors wrote.

Legal experts have warned that the statement could put Bobb and Corcoran in legal trouble.

"People made [Bobb] the fall guy — or fall gal, for what it's worth — and it's wrong," the unidentified source told NBC. "Yes, she signed the declaration. No one disputes that. But what she signed is technically accurate. ... The people who told her to sign it should know better."

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Legal experts cast doubt on Bobb's attempt to evade liability in the case.

Former U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance tweeted she does not buy "the notion that she has managed to immunize herself from criminal liability by carefully wording the false statement she signed. There are legal doctrines like willful blindness & other conduct at issue."

Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti highlighted the disclaimer that Bobb reportedly pushed to add to the statement.

"She will claim she believed Corcoran but wanted to be sure because she had no independent knowledge of the truth of the matter," he wrote. "But if there is independent evidence that she knew it was false, that's a problem for her."

Mariotti added that he expects Corcoran to assert attorney-client privilege in the matter but warned that prosecutors will want to know why he directed Bobb to make a false statement and who the source of the false information was.

"Potentially, that was Trump," he wrote.

New York University Law Professor Ryan Goodman said the report shows evidence of "Trump lawyers turning against each other" and could be bad news for Trump.

"When you're the chief suspect and your lawyer becomes a witness against you … that's nearing game over," he tweeted.

"Bobb ratted out Corcoran," wrote national security attorney Bradley Moss. "Guess who Corcoran will rat out?"

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

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Aggregate Christina Bobb Donald Trump Evan Corcoran Mar-a-lago Politics