The special counsel investigating Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents is trying to force a lawyer for the former president to testify before a grand jury, a source familiar with the matter told NBC News.

A sealed filing by prosecutors alleges they have evidence that some of Trump’s conversations with the lawyer were to further a crime, the source said.

In a sign of an aggressive new legal strategy, first reported Per The New York Times, the source said special counsel Jack Smith has asked a judge to allow prosecutors to invoke what’s known as the «criminal fraud» exception, which would allow them to circumvent protections afforded to Trump’s lawyer. , Evan Corcoran, through attorney-client privilege.

The source did not say which questions the government is trying to force Corcoran to answer.

NBC News has reached out to Corcoran and a Trump spokesperson for comment.

Smith’s effort comes months after FBI agents executed a search warrant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property in August to recover classified material after determining that a certification signed by his records custodian at that time The time that he claimed that all confidential records had been returned was inaccurate.

NBC News previously reported that Trump’s records custodian at the time, Christina Bobb, told investigators that Corcoran had redacted and asked her to sign a letter certifying that all confidential records in Trump’s possession had been returned to the government. .

zoe richards and Vaughn Hillyard contributed.