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Donald Trump: Judge holds former President in civil contempt for withholding documents in NY AG investigation


Judge Arthur Engoron said Trump failed to abide by his order to comply with the subpoena, and that his attorneys failed to show how a search of materials held by Trump was conducted. Engoron said Trump would be fined $10,000 a day until he complies.

The move came after attorneys for Trump and New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office came head-to-head at a hearing Monday morning.

Andrew Amer, with the attorney general’s office, said that Trump has failed to produce “even a single responsive document” for a subpoena that was issued to him in December.

“We are being hampered in our efforts to have a complete understanding because we don’t have evidence from the person who sits at the top of the organization,” Amer said.

New York State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron asked parties to explain at a hearing Monday why the matter has taken so long and has taken so many resources. James’ office has been investigating the Trump Organization for more than two years and previously said her office found multiple misleading or fraudulent misstatements and omissions in the Trump Organization’s financial statements, which were provided to lenders and insurers, among others, as part of its investigation.

The attorney general’s office asked Engoron to hold Trump in civil contempt and fine him $10,000 per day until he complies with the subpoena, among other requests.

Kevin Wallace, with the attorney general’s office, said in some instances it’s been “like pulling teeth” to get documents needed for the investigation, and describing the Trump Organization as a closely-held family company with 500 entities and millions of dollars moving around.

Alina Habba, an attorney for Trump, said the former president does not believe he is above the law, but simply does not have the types of written communications that were sought by the subpoena, but that he produced hundreds of thousands of documents through his assistants. Habba said she herself searched Trump’s heard copy calendars and physical file locations, and even interviewed her client in Florida.

“President Trump does not email. He does not text message. And he has no work computer at home or anywhere else,” Habba said.

“I took it upon myself to get on a plane and flew down and asked him one by one if there was anything that he had on his person that he had not given me I would need that. And he did not,” she said.

The judge asked why Trump didn’t sign an affidavit swearing that he complied with the subpoena. Habba said that he would.

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

James’ office has said in court filings that the Trump Organization is under investigation for engaging in fraudulent or misleading conduct in connection with appraisals and financial statements. The office has subpoenaed both the former president and his company for documents related to its investigation.

Habba argued that the attorney general’s investigation has “seemingly become aimless,” saying that since it began three years ago, the Trump Organization has been given six separate subpoenas, produced more than 6 million pages of documents, and 13 Trump Organization witnesses have been deposed, among other things.

“The scope is continuously changing to fit the attorney general’s needs,” Habba said in court. “When it is not satisfied with the evidence it has obtained it pivots and looks for something new.”

This story is breaking and will be updated.


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