Trump lawyers head to D.C. federal court before closed hearing on DOJ contempt request

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

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump gathered Friday at the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., before a closed hearing expected to deal with a request by the Department of Justice to hold Trump’s office in contempt of court.

The DOJ wants Judge Beryl Howell to find Trump’s office in contempt for its failure to comply with a grand jury subpoena issued in May demanding the return of any classified documents still in Trump’s possession or control, according to a person familiar with the issue who spoke to NBC News.

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Howell is set to hold a hearing in the case Friday afternoon, which will be closed to the public. It is sealed because it relates to grand jury proceedings.

NBC News is 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, NBC reported.

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.