Trump held in contempt of court for subpoena in New York Probe (1)

A judge has ruled Donald Trump in contempt of court for failing to turn over records as part of New York’s investigation into valuations of his real estate company’s assets.

Monday’s decision, which includes a fine of $10,000 a day until the former president produces the documents, came after a hearing in which Trump’s attorney argued he was not there were no documents beyond what his client gave to the New York Attorney General. Letitia James.

During the hearing, an attorney for James told the court that New York is likely to file a lawsuit against Trump’s company “in the near future.” The state had asked that Trump be held in contempt and face the fine for missing the March 31 deadline to respond to subpoenas.

The New York State Court Judge’s Contempt Conviction Arthur Engoron adds pressure on Trump as James seeks to conclude an investigation into whether the Trump Organizationused fraudulent asset appraisals to secure better terms on loans and insurance coverage, as well as millions of dollars in tax refunds for donated land. Trump and two of his adult children are fighting a separate battle with James over whether they should be forced to sit for sworn depositions.

Read more: Trump must testify about ‘misleading’ assessments, NY says

James said the investigation had already uncovered “significant” evidence that misleading appraisals on some of Trump’s biggest properties had been used in financial statements relied on by banks and insurers.

“For years, Donald Trump has tried to evade the law and stop our legal investigation into him and his company’s financial dealings,” she said in a statement after the ruling. “Today’s decision is clear: no one is above the law.

Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, said her client would appeal the decision.

“We respectfully disagree with the court’s decision today,” Habba said, adding that the only legitimate issue was that his affidavit describing his search of Trump’s records was not sufficient.

“That doesn’t even come close to the norm on a motion for contempt,” she said.

‘800 Pound Gorilla’

During the hearing, Engoron called the lack of an affidavit from Trump confirming that he no longer has any records responding to the subpoena of the “800-pound gorilla in the room.”

Habba said she would be willing to amend a response she filed with the court to claim she personally searched filing cabinets outside her client’s office in Trump Tower, reviewed files stored in closets and offsite and questioned him about the records in person in Florida. She said all the files have been handed over.

“President Trump doesn’t email, he doesn’t text, and he doesn’t have a work computer at home or anywhere else,” Habba said.

“Why don’t we have an affidavit from him?” the judge pressed Habba. You stole to make sure he had nothing else. Why don’t we have an affidavit from him? »

‘An honest person’

Habba said Trump would sign such an affidavit if she asked him to.

“How do you know he will swear it under oath?” asked the judge.

“My client is an honest person, much to the dismay of some people in this room,” Habba said.

The attorney for the AG gave no details about what type of enforcement action the state might initiate or when it might be filed. He indicated that the investigation may continue even after the potential lawsuit is filed, given the nature of the transactions under investigation.

The case is New York v. Trump Organization, 451685/2020; deposition call is 2022-00814; New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division First Department (Manhattan).

(Adds detail and context from the fourth paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story:
Erik Larson in New York at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Katia Porzecanski to [email protected]

Peter Jeffrey

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