By ERIC TUCKER (Associated Press)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawyers for Donald Trump were meeting Thursday with members of special counsel Jack Smith’s team ahead of a potential indictment over the former president’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The meeting included Trump lawyer John Lauro, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to The Associated Press to describe a private gathering.
Trump, the front-runner in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, earlier this month was informed by Smith’s office that he was a target of the Justice Department’s investigation, suggesting that an indictment could be soon.
The investigation has focused on the turbulent two month-period after the November 2020 election in which Trump refused to accept his loss to Democrat Joe Biden and spread lies that victory was stolen from him. The turmoil resulted in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, when Trump loyalists violently broke into the building, attacked police officers and disrupted the congressional counting of electoral votes. More than 1,000 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riot.
In between the election and the riot, Trump urged local election officials to undo voting results in their states, pressured Vice President Mike Pence to halt the certification of electoral votes and falsely claimed that the election had been stolen — despite the fact that numerous federal and local officials, a long list of courts, top former campaign staffers and even his own attorney general have all said there is no evidence of the fraud he alleges.
A spokesman for Smith declined to comment on Thursday’s meeting.
Trump was charged by Smith’s team last month with illegally hoarding classified documents at his Palm Beach, Florida, estate, Mar-a-Lago, and concealing them from investigators. He was also indicted in New York in March on charges of falsifying business records in connection with an alleged hush money payment to a porn actor. And prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, are preparing to announce charging decisions in the coming weeks related to efforts to subvert the election in that state.
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