Contempt proceedings for former President Donald Trump ended after almost 90 minutes behind closed doors on Friday afternoon at a Washington, DC, courthouse.
CNN observed prosecutors, including the Justice Department’s counterintelligence chief Jay Bratt, and attorneys for Trump exiting the courthouse just before 3:30 p.m. ET. The two legal teams had gathered in the chambers area for Chief Judge Beryl Howell, who was set to consider whether to hold Trump in contempt for failing to comply with a subpoena ordering him to turn over classified records, according to CNN’s reporting.
No outcome was announced.
A coalition of media organizations that included CNN had asked Howell to allow public access to Friday’s hearing, but the judge did not grant the request.
Lisa Klem, the court spokesperson, acknowledged the sealed hearing on Friday in a statement, but provided no more information as to what happened.
“This afternoon, the Court held a hearing regarding an ongoing and sealed grand jury matter. This matter remains under seal, pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e) and Local Criminal Rule 6.1,” the statement said.
The DOJ is seeking to hold Trump and his office in contempt for not fully complying with the subpoena following the search of his Mar-a-Lago resort in August. If held in contempt, Trump could rack up fines. Being held in contempt over subpoenas for documents has become a feature of the former president’s court tangles since he left office.
The proceedings ratchet up the pressure on Trump as he faces possible criminal liability in the Mar-a-Lago documents investigation being conducted by special counsel Jack Smith. It also adds another chapter to the ongoing struggle for federal officials to reclaim government records – especially those that contain national security secrets – from Trump after his administration ended.
After the DOJ subpoenaed Trump for documents with classified markings in his possession in May, prosecutors went to court to enforce the grand jury subpoena. The judge ordered Trump’s team to comply. That prompted a search by Trump lawyers last month that yielded two more documents with classification markings.
But the Justice Department is still unsatisfied with the search and with Trump’s side not asserting all documents have been turned over, CNN previously reported.
This story has been updated with additional details Friday.