Timothy Parlatore, who until recently worked as a criminal defense attorney for former President Donald Trump, said Wednesday that the Special Counsel investigating Trump crossed a “red line” at the grand jury.
Parlatore, who was called to testify before a grand jury by Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team in Florida, told CBS News that prosecutors had asked him inappropriate questions that infringed on attorney-client privilege:
Parlatore told [Catherine] Herridge he was “stunned” during his testimony before a grand jury interview when he was asked by prosecutors about issues he said were protected by attorney-client privilege, which he believes was an improper line of questioning that he contends crossed a legal “red line.”
Two people familiar with the probe said that Trump’s legal team is frustrated with how Justice Department officials have handled attorney-client matters in recent months and raised the concerns to Justice Department officials and to Smith himself in a meeting on Monday at the Justice Department.
After his testimony, in a statement, he said it was “clear that the government was not acting appropriately and made several improper attempts to pierce privilege and, in my opinion, made several significant misstatements to the [grand] jury, which I believe constitutes prosecutorial misconduct.”
Attorney-client privilege prevents a lawyer from revealing any communications from the client to the lawyer in private circumstances, at least without the client’s explicit and written consent, unless the communications are part of an effort to commit fraud or conceal an ongoing or future crime. The privilege extends beyond the period in which the lawyer represents the client; violating the privilege can be grounds for disbarment.
Parlatore is said to have left Trump’s legal team because of disagreements among attorneys representing him.
Other allegations of misconduct have also surfaced, including a claim that prosecutors dangled a judicial appointment before a lawyer for a potential witness in an effort to obtain the witness’s cooperation against Trump.
Rumors have circulated that Trump could be indicted as soon as Thursday, presumably on charges relating to his handling of classified documents as he departed from the White House. Trump and his attorney says that he did nothing wrong and that he is the victim of an unprecedented effort by an incumbent administration to prosecute, intimidate, and smear the leading candidate for the political opposition in an upcoming election.