Former President Donald Trump looks on before speaking during a tour of an unfinished section of the border wall on June 30, 2021 in Pharr, Texas.
Brandon Bell | fake images
A New York judge on Friday rejected a request by the former president’s lawyers donald trump to lift a contempt of court ruling despite the filing of new affidavits from Trump and his lawyers arguing that he has complied with a subpoena from the state attorney general.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron said new affidavits attesting to the inability of Trump and others to locate documents sought by Attorney General Letitia James they were not enough to purge Trump of being held in contempt. And Engoron ordered Trump to submit a more detailed affidavit swearing information related to the search for the requested documents.
In a letter to EngoronJames’s lawyers He said that he should not lift the contempt order, that he has a $10,000 per day fine against Trump attached, pending more extensive searches of the documents than Trump’s attorneys said had been done.
That search, the AG’s attorneys said, must include all of Trump’s cell phones, Trump Tower in Manhattan, every one of Trump’s properties where he maintains a “private residence” and “personal office,” off-site storage locations, site and on “all electronic devices”. devices issued by the Trump Organization to Trump’s executive aides.
Engoron did agree, writing in an order later Friday that the affidavits filed by Trump and his attorneys “are insufficient because they fail to specify who searched each respective application, at what time, where, and using what search protocols.”
“Furthermore, Mr. Trump’s personal affidavit is completely devoid of any useful detail,” the judge wrote. “In particular, it does not state where you kept your files, how your files were stored in the regular course of business, who had access to those files, what the retention policy, if any, was for such files, and what is more importantly, where he believes those files are currently located.
Engoron’s ruling upholding its contempt order was issued at a hearing called so short notice that the court did not announce it publicly.
The hearing came four days after Engoron found Trump in contempt for failing to deliver the documents to James by the March 31 deadline set by the judge for subpoena enforcement.
James Civil Investigation is considering claims that the Trump Organization improperly manipulated the stated valuations of various real estate assets for financial gain.
Engoron ordered Trump on Tuesday to immediately begin paying a $10,000-per-day fine as a result of the contempt ruling.
On Wednesday, Trump’s lawyers filed affidavits in court sealed by themselves and Trump, saying they had been unable to locate the documents James wants to see.
“In accordance with and compliance with the [contempt] Order, it is respectfully requested that this Court strike down the civil contempt finding,” Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, wrote in that document.
Engoron in a hearing on Monday questioned why Trump had not previously submitted an affidavit in person, but instead relied on Habba to claim he couldn’t find the documents.
In his two-sentence affidavit signed in Palm Beach, Florida, Trump said that “to my knowledge, I do not have any of the documents requested in the subpoena … in my personal possession.”
Trump added that if any relevant records remain, “I think they would be in the custody of the Trump Organization.”
That echoes what his lawyer Habba previously told Engoron.
Habba and another attorney at his firm, Michael Madaio, in separate affidavits filed Wednesday, said that after conducting an exhaustive search, they found that Trump did not possess any additional documents that could be provided in response to the eight categories of records required in the James’ judgment. citation.
“Defendant’s productions and responses to the summons are complete and correct to the best of my knowledge,” Habba wrote.
“No documents or information in response to the Summons have been withheld from Defendant’s production and response.
Habba earlier this week appealed Engoron’s contempt ruling. That appeal has not yet been heard.
Habba in an emailed statement said: “Today’s events have made it overwhelmingly clear that this case no longer has anything to do with the proper application of legal principles governing discovery disclosure.”
“The court completely ignored the detailed affidavits demonstrating the meticulous efforts that went into carrying out this search,” Habba said. “This Court has wrongfully held my client in contempt for a violation he did not commit solely because the [Office of the Attorney General] declared it ‘insufficient’ without any basis”.
“The tactics employed by this Court, including the dramatic gavel, statements addressed to our client from the witness stand, and direct comments to the press have reduced this hearing to a public spectacle,” he said. “We will zealously pursue our appeal of the misapplication of the law and the facts by the Court.”