New York judge drops civil contempt conviction against Trump and orders him to pay $110,000 fine

Judge Arthur Engoron set several conditions which he says must be met by May 20 or he will reinstate the contempt verdict and apply it retroactively. These conditions include providing affidavits outlining the Trump Organization’s document retention and destruction policy, including how post-its were handled, and completing the review of five related boxes. to Trump that were in an offsite storage facility.

The judge also agreed to allow Trump to place the money in an escrow account until the former president’s appeal against the contempt ruling is complete.

The judge stopped the clock on the fine last Friday when Trump’s lawyers submitted additional affidavits, including one from Trump, about his efforts to comply with the subpoena from the New York Attorney General’s office for the files.

New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement that Wednesday’s contempt ruling sends a clear message to Trump and his organization, which she says has been trying to “thwart” the investigation for decades. years, that “no one can escape responsibility”.

“We will continue to enforce the law and seek answers as part of this investigation,” James said.

The New York attorney general’s office decided to outrage Trump after he failed to comply with a subpoena for documents issued in December 2021. The attorney general’s office is investigating the accuracy of the financial statements that the Trump Organization provided to lenders, insurers and tax benefits.

During a hearing on Wednesday, Andrew Amer, a state attorney, weighed in on the issue of post-it notes, which Trump was known to use to communicate with his staff, and whether they had been turned over.

“To our knowledge, we haven’t seen any material with post-its in it. And that’s one of the weird things about the production so far, given the statements that were a way for Mr. Trump to communicate.” , Ames said. He argued that the handling of Post-its should be included in the document retention and destruction policy.

Alina Habba, Trump’s attorney, said the Trump Organization’s general counsel told her that all of the Post-it notes had already been produced at the attorney general’s office.

“It’s a bit comical,” she told the judge, holding up a pile of post-its. “I don’t have any formal practice on post-its, do I?”

The judge said they could start a new practice in the law: the Post-it affidavit.

The judge said he also wanted Trump’s attorneys to address any efforts to contact Trump’s former executive aides and whether they could be located.

Trump filed an updated affidavit with the judge on Friday, saying he no longer had any Trump Organization-issued cellphones and had turned over his personal cellphone to be searched. Habba said she personally searched every bedside table, desk and closet at Trump’s properties and found no documents sought by the subpoena.

This story has been updated with additional developments and background information.

CNN’s Shawna Mizelle contributed to this report.


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