Judge scorns Trump for not turning over documents to New York Attorney General Letitia James

A New York judge scorned former President Donald Trump on Monday and fined him $10,000 a day for failing to comply with a subpoena requiring him to turn over documents to investigators conducting a wide-ranging investigation into financial fraud for New York Attorney General Letitia James.

“Mr. Trump, I know you take your business seriously, and I take mine seriously, I hereby hold you in civil contempt and fine you $10,000 a day,” the judge said. Supreme Court of New York, Arthur Engoron. The judge’s written order will be filed tomorrow.

james office asked for the contempt verdict after Trump missed a court-ordered March 31 deadline to turn over subpoenaed material, claiming he had none documents requested in the civil investigation.

“The March 31 deadline has passed and we haven’t received any documents,” Andrew Amer, an attorney in James’s office, said Monday. Amer later asked, “Is Mr. Trump thumbing his nose at this court order?”

Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, said she personally oversaw the search for documents, including flying to Florida to interview Trump at his Mar-a-Lago club.

“He just has nothing more to provide. It’s already been provided. So, your honor, how dismissive is President Trump?” Habba asked.

But Engoron seemed to believe that this explanation raised more questions about Trump’s response to the subpoena, asking Habba why she hadn’t documented the Mar-a-Lago interview before.

“I feel like there’s an 800-pound gorilla in the room, and that’s why don’t we have an affidavit from him?” Engoron asked, later adding, “There’s a difference between saying something and saying something under oath.”

Investigators want information on three mobile devices belonging to Trump, two of which are personal and one is a company-issued phone, according to a filing Friday from James’ office. Amer said on Monday that they had not received data from any of the devices.

They are also looking for documents from specific Trump Organization file storage locations, such as “files located in cabinets outside of Mr. Trump’s office”, “the storage room near Mr. Mr. Trump”, “the executive office storage closet”, and “the file cabinets located on the 25th and 26th floors.”

In a sometimes testy back-and-forth between Habba, Engoron and his clerk Allison Greenfield, Engoron said Trump’s attorneys failed to explain what and how they searched.

“Let’s say you’re going to say, ‘I searched the files outside his office.’ I must have an affidavit that says ‘I searched the records outside his office,'” Engoron said.

Trump and two of his children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, were ordered on February 17 to appear for depositions at James long-standing civil fraud investigation. They have appealed the appearance order and are awaiting a decision on that appeal. Trump did not challenge a separate part of that Feb. 17 decision in which he was ordered to comply with James’ subpoena for documents.

Engoron ordered Trump to comply by March 3, then extended that deadline until March 31 — a date both sides agreed to at the time, according to a court document.

James’ office claimed in a February press release that its extensive investigation had gathered evidence “showing that Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization used fraudulent and misleading financial statements to gain economic advantage.” The original focus of the investigation was to find out whether the Trump Organization had inflated asset valuations while seeking loans and insurance coverage, and deflated their value to reduce tax liability.

Trump and his company have repeatedly denied all allegations of wrongdoing. Habba reiterated on Monday, calling the investigation a “political crusade.”

The attorney general’s office and the Trump Organization are nearing the end of their toll agreement — which temporarily suspends certain statutes of limitations while documents are produced. A lawyer from the attorney general’s office said once the deadline passes, it could lead to a civil “execution” against the company.

“We will likely need to take enforcement action in the near future to preserve our rights,” said Kevin Wallace of the attorney general’s office.

This investigation, which on July 1, 2021 led to charges against the Trump Organization and its chief financial officerseems stuck.

Two top prosecutors, Carey Dunne and Mark Pomerantz, resigned in February, less than two months after newly elected Manhattan prosecutor Alvin Bragg took office, succeeding Cyrus Vance Jr., who launched the investigation. in August 2018. resignationwhich was published in The New York Times, Pomerantz wrote that Vance “concluded that the facts warranted prosecution,” but that Bragg had “decided…not to press charges at this time.”

Bragg said in an April 7 statement that the criminal the investigation “is continuing” and its investigators and prosecutors are “exploring evidence that hasn’t been explored before.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.