Judge rules Donald Trump no longer in contempt of court failing to comply with the NY AG subpoena
Donald Trump no longer disdains the court, a New York judge ruled on Wednesday.
Judge Arthur Engoron, who denounced the former president on April 25 for being slow to respond to a civil subpoena from the New York Attorney General, said he now meets the conditions to lift the sanction after a protracted legal battle.
Trump last month paid $110,000 in fines incurred as a result of the contempt.
The money, paid directly to Attorney General Letitia James’ office, will remain in an escrow account as Trump appeals the original contempt, Engoron said Wednesday.
New York Attorney General Letitia James has been investigating the Trump Organization since 2019. At the end of last year, she sued Donald Trump and his two oldest children
Trump and his two oldest children, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., are slated to testify under oath in James’s investigation beginning July 15, after the state’s highest court ruled on its latest attempt to avoid a subpoena. turned down.
“While we are pleased that the court lifted the finding of contempt, we maintain that it was totally unjustified and inappropriate in the first place,” Trump attorney Alina Habba said. “We will continue our appeal to ensure justice for our client.”
The attorney general asked Engoron to classify Trump as contempt of court after failing to submit documents to meet the March 31 deadline to meet the terms of her subpoena.
Engoron fined Trump $10,000 a day for non-compliance, but stopped the fine in early May, when it appeared a resolution to the dispute was near.
Trump and his two oldest children, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., will testify under oath in James’s investigation beginning July 15, after the state’s highest court rejected his last-ditch effort to avoid a subpoena.
Engoron originally agreed on May 11 to lift Trump’s contempt warrant if he paid the fines and met certain other conditions, including submitting affidavits detailing his search efforts and his company’s record retention policies.
Engoron and the attorney general’s office were dissatisfied with the level of detail in Trump’s submissions, keeping the contempt in effect while new affidavits were drafted.
The judge also required a company hired by Trump to assist in the search, HaystackID, to go through 17 boxes kept in external storage, report his findings and hand over all relevant documents. That process was completed last month, James’s office said.
Engoron withdrew the fine on May 6, when Trump’s attorneys filed 66 pages of court documents detailing his and his attorneys’ efforts to locate the subpoenaed documents.
He previously warned that he could restore it, backdated to May 7, if his conditions were not met.
James’s office claims to have found ‘substantial evidence’ that the Trump Organization has knowingly used misleading financial statements in its business dealings for at least a decade
James, a Democrat, has said her three-year investigation has revealed evidence that Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, has misrepresented the value of assets such as skyscrapers and golf courses in financial statements for more than a decade.
Her subpoena sought documents related to his financial statements, development projects, and even communications with Forbes magazine, where he was trying to polish his image as a wealthy businessman.
Trump, a Republican, has denied the charges. He called James’ research “racist” and a politically motivated “witch hunt.” James is black. Trump’s lawyers have accused her of selective prosecution.
Trump’s attorneys allege that James is using her civil investigation to access information that could then be used against him in a parallel criminal investigation being conducted by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, also a Democrat.
A federal judge last month dismissed a lawsuit Trump filed against James, dismissing his allegation that she targeted him out of political zeal and allowing her civil investigation into his business practices to continue.
During a court hearing in that case, a lawyer from James’s office said the evidence found in the investigation could support legal action against the former president, his company, or both.
The attorney, Andrew Amer, said at a hearing in Trump’s lawsuit against James that “a significant amount of evidence has clearly been gathered that could support the filing of an enforcement lawsuit,” although no final decision has been made on filing an enforcement action. such action. †