Eric Herschmann advised former President Donald Trump last year to return the materials.
A former lawyer for Donald Trump warned the ex-president late last year that harboring government documents at home could put him in legal jeopardy, sources told The New York Times in a report published Monday.
Onetime White House attorney Eric Herschmann emphasized the importance of returning the material, three people familiar with the conversation said. Trump thanked Herschmann for the counsel but was “noncommittal” about giving back the files, according to the three sources.
The reported discussion bolsters evidence that Trump knew there could be consequences of taking home government materials. He allegedly squirreled away top-secret files that reportedly included sensitive nuclear information. FBI agents seized documents in a raid of Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida club and residence, last month.
The lawyer, Eric Herschmann, sought to impress upon Mr. Trump the seriousness of the issue and the potential for investigations and legal exposure if he did not return the documents, particularly any classified material, the people said.
The account of the conversation is the latest evidence that Mr. Trump had been informed of the legal perils of holding onto material that is now at the heart of a Justice Department criminal investigation into his handling of the documents and the possibility that he or his aides engaged in obstruction.
In January, not long after the discussion with Mr. Herschmann, Mr. Trump turned over to the National Archives 15 boxes of material he had taken with him from the White House. Those boxes turned out to contain 184 classified documents, the Justice Department has said.