Target letter to Trump Organization staffer signals new push in classified docs probe: Sources
Investigators are probing the employee's handling of surveillance footage.
The special counsel investigating former President Donald Trump's handling of classified documents has taken new steps to examine possible efforts to obstruct the probe, threatening potential charges against a Trump Organization employee who is suspected of lying to investigators, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.
Special counsel Jack Smith in recent weeks transmitted a target letter to the staffer indicating that he might have perjured himself during a May appearance before the federal grand jury hearing evidence in the classified documents probe, the sources told ABC News.
The target letter to the employee, which was described to ABC News by sources familiar with it but not obtained or reviewed by ABC News, signals Smith's growing interest in the Trump Organization's handling of the surveillance footage and potential efforts to avoid sharing it with investigators.
Trump has pleaded not guilty to 37 criminal counts related to his handling of classified materials, after prosecutors said he repeatedly refused to return hundreds of documents containing classified information ranging from U.S. nuclear secrets to the nation's defense capabilities.
A target letter puts a subject of an investigation on notice that they are facing the prospect of an indictment. Smith's office similarly provided notice to Trump that he was a target in their investigation weeks before a grand jury in Florida returned the indictment against him.
Reached Thursday by ABC News, the employee declined to answer questions about a possible target letter and his discussions with investigators, saying only, "It's none of your business."
Stanley Woodward, a lawyer who has represented the employee and who represents several other Trump advisers, declined to comment to ABC News.
Investigators have been scrutinizing the employee's role in the handling of surveillance footage at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate that was sought by federal prosecutors last summer, sources said.
Investigators are also interested in any subsequent conversations he had with other Trump Organization employees, including Walt Nauta, who was indicted alongside Trump in June on charges related to his own alleged efforts to obstruct the investigation.
Nauta, like Trump, has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The Trump Organization maintains that no surveillance footage was destroyed or deleted, according to sources familiar with their thinking.
The government is not taking the position that footage was deleted or destroyed, but rather is zeroing in on potential efforts to obstruct the probe, sources said.
The special counsel's office declined to comment when contacted by ABC News.