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Trump says his lawyers have met with prosecutors ahead of possible 2020 election indictment

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawyers for Donald Trump met Thursday with members of special counsel Jack Smith’s team ahead of a potential indictment over the former president’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the run-up to the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Trump himself confirmed the meeting in a post on his Truth Social network, writing, “My attorneys had a productive meeting with the DOJ this morning, explaining in detail that I did nothing wrong, was advised by many lawyers, and that an Indictment of me would only further destroy our Country.”

He added that “no indication of notice was given during the meeting.”

It was not immediately clear what was discussed at the meeting, though a similar sit-down with lawyers occurred in the days before Trump was indicted last month on charges of illegally retaining classified documents. Thursday’s meeting included Trump attorney John Lauro, said the person familiar with the case, who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to describe a private gathering. Lauro said in a Fox News television interview last week that his client had done “nothing wrong.”

The status of the secretive grand jury proceedings remained unclear despite building speculation that a criminal case could be near. No indictment was filed Thursday, though Trump did face new charges in the classified documents case, with prosecutors accusing him of asking a staffer to delete security camera footage in an apparent effort to obstruct the investigation.

Trump, the front-runner in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, was informed earlier this month by Smith’s office that he was a target of the Justice Department’s investigation, suggesting that an indictment could be soon.

The investigation has focused on the turbulent two-month period after the November 2020 election in which Trump refused to accept his loss to Democrat Joe Biden and spread lies that victory was stolen from him. The turmoil resulted in the riot at Capitol, when Trump loyalists violently broke into the building, attacked police officers and disrupted the congressional counting of electoral votes. More than 1,000 people have been charged with federal crimes related to that assault.

In between the election and the riot, Trump urged local election officials to undo voting results in their states, pressured Vice President Mike Pence to halt the certification of electoral votes and falsely claimed that the election had been stolen — despite the fact that numerous federal and local officials, a long list of courts, top former campaign staffers and even his own attorney general have all said there is no evidence of the fraud he alleges.

A spokesman for Smith declined to comment on Thursday’s meeting. Lauro, Trump’s lawyer, didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Trump was charged by Smith’s team last month with illegally hoarding classified documents at his Palm Beach, Florida, estate, Mar-a-Lago, and concealing them from investigators. He was also indicted in New York in March on charges of falsifying business records in connection with an alleged hush money payment to a porn actor. And prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, are preparing to announce charging decisions in the coming weeks related to efforts to subvert the election in that state.