Jerome Corsi Explains Why He Entered Defense Agreement With President Trump
by Chuck Ross
- Jerome Corsi, through his attorney, has provided President Trump’s legal team with details of his interactions with the special counsel’s office, the right-wing author reveals in an upcoming book.
- Corsi discussed his arrangement with Trump’s team in an interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation.
- He wanted Trump to “understand what was going on with the special counsel.” He also denies that he is angling for a pardon, and that Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow said that a pardon was “not on the table.”
Jerome Corsi revealed this week that he has a joint defense agreement with President Donald Trump, an arrangement the conservative author says will likely generate speculation that he is angling for a pardon should he be convicted in the Russia probe.
Corsi claims that a pardon was not his goal in entering an agreement with Trump. The 72-year-old former InfoWars correspondent said in an interview this week with The Daily Caller News Foundation that he entered a verbal, informal agreement with Trump’s legal team because he thought “it would be important for Trump’s attorneys to understand what was going on with the special counsel.”
“I felt the information would be beneficial to the president’s attorneys in preparing their defense of Donald Trump,” said Corsi, who first revealed the defense agreement in his upcoming book, “Silent No More: How I Became a Political Prisoner of Mueller’s ‘Witch Hunt.’”
“A pardon was not the objective of the talks. It was not the anticipation of the pardon, and I still do not anticipate a pardon,” said Corsi, who added that he “will continue supporting Trump regardless of a pardon.”
The joint defense agreement came about through Corsi’s professional connection to Jay Sekulow, an attorney for Trump.
Shortly after Corsi was subpoenaed on Aug. 28, he says that he suggested to friends that they get in touch with Sekulow, who operates a Christian rights group, the American Center for Law and Justice, in addition to representing Trump.
Corsi’s attorney, David Gray, called Sekulow, and after a discussion, Sekulow suggested that the two sides enter an agreement to exchange information about the investigation.
Joint defense agreements are not illegal or even unusual in cases with numerous investigative subjects and targets. Trump has maintained a defense agreement with Paul Manafort even after the former Trump campaign chairman entered a cooperation agreement with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team on Sept. 14.
Corsi said he and Gray discussed the ramifications of the defense agreement, taking under consideration how the special counsel might respond.
Corsi raised the specter of a pardon from Trump, unprompted during the interview with TheDCNF. He also said talk of a possible pardon came up in Gray’s interactions with Sekulow, but that Sekulow said a pardon was “not on the table.”
“I don’t expect one. I’m not angling for one. I’m not strategizing for one. I’m not asking for one,” Corsi said, while adding that he would not reject a pardon, either.
Whether Corsi will be charged with a crime remains to be seen. He announced on Nov. 13, days after testifying to Mueller’s grand jury, that prosecutors had informed him that he would be indicted for perjury. Mueller’s team then presented a plea offer that would have required Corsi to making false statements about his interactions with Trump confidant Roger Stone regarding WikiLeaks.
Corsi said Monday that he was rejecting the offer because he did not believe he willfully lied to Mueller and his team.
Prosecutors accused Corsi of lying during a Sept. 6 interview when he claimed that he ignored a suggestion from Stone that he reach out to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. He’s also accused of falsely denying that he told Stone of WikiLeaks’ plans to release dirt on former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Corsi sent Stone an email on Aug. 2, 2016, which referred to Assange’s plans to release two batches of documents that would be “very damaging” to the Clinton campaign. The email also referred to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
One focus of investigators is whether Corsi, Stone or any other Trump associates had advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ Oct. 7, 2016 release of Podesta’s emails. Stone claims that he did not interpret the email as Corsi saying that WikiLeaks had the documents.
Gray’s conversations with Sekulow and the rest of Trump’s legal team were “one way,” said Corsi, with Gray telling the lawyers what questions prosecutors were asking and what lines of inquiry they were exploring.
“The usual things one would want to know,” Corsi said.
Trump’s attorneys “weren’t telling him what their strategy was, they really weren’t giving him legal advice. We didn’t inquire about the status of other cases,” he added.
Gray made contact with Trump’s team “whenever there was a material development,” Corsi said. “They were regular discussions, not every day, but when needed.”
Corsi said Sekulow was “very strict” about materials Gray could see as Trump’s team wanted to avoid being seen as interfering with Mueller’s investigation.
The informality of Corsi’s agreement with team Trump caused some confusion between Gray and Mueller’s team, said Corsi.
At one point, the special counsel learned of the defense agreement and asked Corsi about it. Gray told Mueller prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky that there was no arrangement with Trump’s lawyers. But Corsi said he instructed Gray to clarify that there was an agreement, but it was verbal and informal.
“They decided not to put it in writing. They didn’t think it was necessary,” said Corsi.
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