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Trump office not held in contempt of court despite DOJ bid

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a rally to support Republican candidates ahead of midterm elections, in Dayton, Ohio, November 7, 2022.

Gaelen Morse | Reuters

A federal judge on Friday did not grant a request by the Department of Justice to hold the office of former President Donald Trump in contempt of court for allegedly failing to comply with a grand jury subpoena, NBC News reported.

The DOJ wanted Judge Beryl Howell to find Trump’s office in contempt for not fully complying with the subpoena issued in May, which demanded he return classified documents still in his possession, according to a person familiar with the issue who spoke to NBC News.

The DOJ had no comment on Howell’s rejection of the request, which came after a closed hearing was scheduled for the matter in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

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The hearing was sealed because it relates to grand jury proceedings. NBC News was part of a media coalition seeking access to the hearing.

Trump’s lawyers Evan Corcoran, Jim Trusty and Timothy Parlatore were seen arriving separately and then entering Howell’s chambers together around the time of the scheduled hearing at 2 p.m. ET, NBC reported.

The trio were seen leaving the courthouse together at just before 3:30 p.m. ET, an hour and a half after the scheduled start of the hearing.

The DOJ is conducting a criminal investigation of Trump for his failure to return government documents when he left the White House, as well as for obstruction of justice. An August FBI raid of his residence at the Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, found thousands of such records, more than 100 of which were marked classified or highly classified.

Trump last month announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

Trump’s spokesman said in a statement Friday, “The President and his counsel will continue to be transparent and cooperative, even in the face of the highly weaponized and corrupt witch-hunt from the Department of Justice.”

“Hillary Clinton was allowed to delete and acid wash 33,000 emails after they were subpoenaed by Congress, yet absolutely nothing has happened to hold her accountable,” the spokesman said.

“If the Department of Justice can go after President Trump, they will surely come after any American who they disagree with. President Trump is the only one who stands in the way of the un-American weaponization of law enforcement.”