The case is the latest legal development in the final days of President Donald Trump’s administration, after several of his top advisers were convicted on federal criminal charges and with the growing likelihood that Trump would grant amnesty to those who were loyal to him.
The disclosure was made in 20 pages of partially revised documents released by the Metropolitan District Court Tuesday afternoon. The records show Judge Beryl Howell’s review in August to request prosecutors to access documents obtained in the search process as part of an investigation into bribery in exchange for amnesty.
The filings do not reveal a timeline of the alleged plot, or any names of people potentially involved, except that interpersonal communications including at least one attorney were seized from an office that was raided sometime before the end of this summer.
It appears that no one has been publicly charged with a related crime so far.
According to court records, at the end of this summer, a liquidation team was used to ensure that prosecutors were not receiving suspicious evidence that should have been kept on them because she was privileged, and she had more than 50 digital devices including iPhones and iPads. Laptops, flash drives and computer drives after investigators raided anonymous offices.
The plaintiffs told the court that they wanted permission for the liquidation team’s holdings. Prosecutors believe the devices have detected emails showing alleged criminal activity, including a “covert pressure scheme” and a bribery plot that provided “a significant political contribution in exchange for a presidential pardon or stay of judgment” for a convicted defendant whose name was removed according to the revised documents.
Typically, communications between attorneys and clients are distinct from and etched from plaintiffs as they build their cases, but in this case, Howell allowed prosecutors access. Attorney-client communications are not protected as distinct under the law when discussing a crime, among other exceptions.
“The political strategy for obtaining a presidential pardon was parallel and different from it [redacted]The role of the lawyer as an advocate [redacted name]Howell wrote in the court order.
The grand jury investigation also appears to relate to unnamed individuals who act as “unregistered lobbyists for senior White House officials” as they seek to secure an amnesty and use an intermediary to send a bribe, according to unsealed court records.
However, the plaintiffs did not provide evidence to the judge of any direct payments and instead showed evidence that the person was seeking clemency due to past and future political contributions.
The investigators at the court indicated that they intended to “confront” three persons with communications and complete their investigation.
Last week, the Justice Department told Howell that it wanted to keep filings in the case secret in court, because “individuals and conduct” had not yet been charged.
This story has been updated with additional information.
CNN’s Caitlan Collins contributed to this report.