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Trump lawyer says there’s ‘no need’ to appear before grand jury in special counsel’s 2020 election probe

<i>Charlie Neibergall/AP</i><br/>Former President Donald Trump visits with campaign volunteers at the Elks Lodge
Charlie Neibergall/AP
Former President Donald Trump visits with campaign volunteers at the Elks Lodge

By Andrew Millman and Holmes Lybrand, CNN

(CNN) — John Lauro, the recent addition to former President Donald Trump’s legal team, told Fox News on Friday there is no reason for the former president to appear before a federal grand jury investigating the 2020 election aftermath, adding that Trump “did absolutely nothing wrong.”

Earlier this week, Trump said he received a letter from special counsel Jack Smith informing him that he’s a target of the investigation and inviting him to appear before the grand jury. CNN previously reported that Trump’s team believed they had until Thursday to respond.

The grand jury did not convene on Friday after meeting on Thursday.

“There’s no need to appear in front of any grand jury right now,” Lauro said. “President Trump did absolutely nothing wrong. He’s done nothing criminal.”

“The bottom line is that the special prosecutor, which is really the Biden Justice Department, is after President Trump and that’s the focus,” Lauro told Fox News.

Lauro also echoed claims made by Trump and his GOP allies that the Justice Department is being politicized to target a political opponent and said that Trump merely asked for an audit in the wake of the 2020 election.

“The only thing that President Trump asked is a pause in the counting so those seven contested states could either re-audit or recertify,” Lauro said of Trump’s actions following his election loss. “I’ve never heard of anyone get indicted for asking for an audit.”

The target letter cites three statutes that Trump could be charged with: pertaining to deprivation of rights; conspiracy to commit an offense against or defraud the United States; and tampering with a witness, according to multiple news outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, that cited a person familiar with the matter.

The Justice Department has been investigating possible violations of the law around conspiracy and obstruction of the congressional proceeding on January 6, 2021, which is part of the witness tampering law, CNN previously reported following a Justice Department search of a Trump administration adviser’s home.

Trump has already been indicted twice this year. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg charged the former president on 34 counts of falsifying business records in March, and Smith charged Trump on 37 counts in the classified documents investigation last month. Trump pleaded not guilty in both cases.

Justice Department regulations allow for prosecutors to notify subjects of an investigation that they have become a target. Often a notification that a person is a target is a strong sign an indictment could follow, but it is possible the recipient is not ultimately charged.

Trump addressed the target letter on Tuesday at a Fox News town hall in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, saying that Smith’s probe amounts to “election interference” and calling it a “disgrace.” His campaign is already fundraising off of the target letter.

Lauro told Fox News that if he appears in court on Trump’s behalf, he’ll be representing “the sovereign citizens of this country who deserve to hear the truth.” The attorney also said he would request that cameras be allowed in the courtroom in Washington, DC, following any indictment of the president there.

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CNN’s Casey Gannon contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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