A New York judge on Monday accused former President Donald Trump of contempt and fined him $ 10,000 a day for failing to serve a summons to hand over documents to investigators conducting an extensive investigation into financial fraud against New York Attorney General Leticia James.
“Mr. Trump, I know you are serious about your business, and I am serious about my business. I consider you a civil contempt and fine you $ 10,000 a day,” said a New York Supreme Court judge. York Arthur Engaran. A written ruling of the judge will be issued tomorrow.
Trump’s lawyer Alina Hubba said after the hearing that they plan to file an appeal.
“We respectfully disagree with the court’s decision today. All the documents, as I explained, in response to the summons, were already presented to the Attorney General a month ago,” Hubba said.
James’ office asked for a conclusion of contempt after Trump failed to abide by a March 31 deadline to hand over subpoena materials, arguing that he did not documents required in a civil investigation.
“The March 31 deadline came and went, and we didn’t get the paperwork,” Andrew Amer, a lawyer for James’ office, told the court on Monday. Amer later asked, “Is Mr. Trump running wild on this court?”
Trump’s lawyer Alina Hubba said she personally oversaw searches for documents, including flying to Florida for an interview with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago club.
“He just has nothing more to give. It’s already been given. So your honor as President Trump is neglected?” Asked Hub.
But Engaran apparently believed the explanation raised more questions about Trump’s response to the summons, asking Hubb why she had not previously documented Mar-a-Lago’s interview.
“I feel like there’s an 800-pound gorilla in the room, and that means why don’t we have an oath from him?” Engaran asked, later adding, “There is a difference between saying something and saying something under oath.”
Investigators want information from three Trump-owned mobile devices, two of which are personal and one of which is the company’s phone, James’ office said Friday. Amer said Monday that they were not receiving 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 Mr. Trump’s office,” “storage in Mr. Trump’s office,” “file storage cabinet,” and “file cabinets located at 25- m and 26th floors.
Sometimes in a conversation between Hubb, Engaran and his clerk Alison Greenfield, Engaran said Trump’s lawyers could not explain what they were looking for and how.
“Let’s say you say, ‘I searched the files outside his office.’ I must have an affidavit that says, “I searched the files outside his office,” Engaran said.
Trump and his two children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, were ordered on February 17 appear for deposits in James a lengthy investigation into civil fraud. They have appealed the order to appear and are awaiting a decision on this appeal. Trump did not challenge a separate part of the February 17 ruling that ordered him to execute James’ summons for documents.
Engaran ordered Trump to comply with the demand by March 3, and later extended it to March 31, a date agreed by both sides at the time, according to a court document.
James’ office in a February press release claimed that an extensive investigation had gathered evidence “showing that Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization have used misleading, misleading financial statements to gain economic benefits. ” The initial investigation focused on whether the Trump Organization overestimated the value of assets by seeking loans and insurance coverage, and lowered their value to reduce tax liabilities.
Trump and his campaign have repeatedly denied all charges of wrongdoing. Hubba reiterated on Monday, calling the investigation a “political crusade.”
The Attorney General’s Office and the Trump Organization are nearing the end of a grant agreement that temporarily suspends some statutes of limitations during the production of documents. The lawyer of the Prosecutor General’s Office noted that after the expiration of the term it could lead to civil “coercion” against the company.
“We will probably need to take some coercive measures in the near future to preserve our rights,” said Kevin Wallace of the Attorney General’s Office.
The investigation that led to July 1, 2021 charges against the Trump Organization and its CFOseems to have stopped.
Two leading prosecutors, Carrie Dunn and Mark Pomerantz, resigned in February, less than two months after newly elected Manhattan prosecutor Alvin Bragg took office, replacing Cyrus Vance Jr., who launched an investigation in August 2018. resignationwhich was published in The New York Times, Pomerantz wrote that Vance “concluded that the facts justified the prosecution,” but that Bragg “decided … not to prosecute now.”
Brag said in a statement on April 7 that he was a criminal investigation “ongoing” and its investigators and prosecutors are “investigating evidence not previously investigated.”