Trump loses bid to drop contempt charge despite swearing he couldn’t find subpoenaed documents – NBC Chicago

  • A New York judge has upheld a contempt of court conviction against former President Donald Trump despite new affidavits from Trump and his lawyers.
  • These affidavits effectively allege that he complied with a subpoena from New York Attorney General Letitia James.
  • Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron’s decision in a hearing convened on short notice came four days after Engoron found Trump dismissive for not handing over documents requested by James.
  • Engoron ordered on Tuesday that Trump immediately begin paying a fine of $10,000 a day following that contempt conviction.

A New York judge on Friday denied a request from the former president’s lawyers donald trump to lift a contempt of court conviction despite the submission of new sworn affidavits from Trump and his attorneys that say he complied with a state attorney general’s subpoena.

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 were not sufficient to purge Trump of custody. be 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 Engoron, James’ lawyers said he should not lift the contempt order, which carries a $10,000-a-day fine against Trump, until more research is done. thorough documentation be conducted than those that Trump’s attorneys have said have been done.

This search, AG attorneys said, should include all of Trump’s cellphones, Trump Tower in Manhattan, each of Trump’s properties where he maintains a “private residence” and “personal office”, locations of off-site storage and in “all electronic devices”. devices issued by the Trump Organization to Trump’s executive aides.

Engoron effectively agreed, writing in an order later Friday that the affidavits filed by Trump and his attorneys “are insufficient in that they do not specify who researched each respective request, at what time, where, and using what protocols of research”.

“Furthermore, Mr. Trump’s personal affidavit is utterly devoid of any useful detail,” the judge wrote. “In particular, it does not specify where it kept its files, how its files were stored in the normal course of its business, who had access to those files, what, if any, was the retention policy for those files, and, especially, where he thinks such files are currently located.”

Engoron’s decision upholding his contempt order was issued in a hearing convened on such short notice that it was not publicly announced by the court.

The hearing came four days after Engoron found Trump guilty of failing to deliver documents to James by the March 31 deadline set by the judge to comply with the subpoena.

The James Civil Investigation is monitoring allegations that the Trump Organization improperly manipulated reported appraisals of various real estate assets for financial gain.

Engoron ordered on Tuesday that Trump immediately begin paying a $10,000-a-day fine following the contempt conviction.

On Wednesday, Trump’s attorneys filed sealed affidavits in court of themselves and Trump, saying they had been unable to locate the documents James wanted to see.

“In accordance with and respecting the [contempt] Order, this Court is respectfully requested to purge the finding of civil contempt,” Trump attorney Alina Habba wrote in the filing.

Engoron, in a hearing on Monday, asked why Trump had not previously submitted an affidavit personally, but instead relied on Habba to say he could not find the documents.

In his two-sentence affidavit signed in Palm Beach, Florida, Trump said that “to the best of my knowledge, I have none of the documents requested in the subpoena…in my personal possession.”

Trump added that if any relevant documents remained, “I believe they would be in the custody of the Trump Organization.”

This 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 a thorough search, they found that Trump had no additional documents that could be provided in response to eight categories of documents. asked James. assignment.

“The respondent’s submissions and responses to the subpoena are complete and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief,” Habba wrote.

“No document or information responding to the subpoena has been withheld from the production and the response of the defendant.

Habba earlier this week appealed Engoron’s contempt decision. This appeal has not yet been heard.

Habba, in an emailed statement, said: “Today’s events have made it extremely clear that this matter no longer has anything to do with the proper application of the legal principles governing the disclosure of discoveries. “.

“The Court completely ignored the detailed affidavits that demonstrate the meticulous efforts undertaken to conduct this search,” Habba said. “This Court has improperly held my client in contempt for a breach which 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 dramatic hammering of the gavel, statements delivered to our client from the bench and direct comments to the press reduced this hearing to a public spectacle,” she said. “We will zealously pursue our appeal against the Court’s misapplication of law and facts.”

NBC Chicago

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