It’s no coincidence that Donald Trump made a “triumphant” return to his flailing social media app the same week a New York judge slapped him with a $10,000-per-day contempt fine. Trump’s lawyers are seeking to reverse the ruling brought against Trump for not supplying the court with records sought in Attorney General Letitia James’ civil investigation into the Trump Organization. Among other charges, Trump is accused of inflating his property values when selling them but later deflating those values to avoid higher tax payments.
Trump claims he doesn’t have the records, but Judge Arthur Engoron wasn’t buying that as an excuse. Engoron criticized the lack of detail in Trump’s affidavit, which amounted to two paragraphs, saying that he should have explained the methods he uses to store his records and the efforts he made to locate the files, which are under subpoena.
In separate affidavits, Trump lawyers Alina Habba and Michael Madaio detailed steps they allegedly took to locate documents in the Dec. 1 subpoena, including meeting with Trump last month at Mar-a-Lago in Florida and reviewing prior searches of his company’s files.
NY Judge Arthur Engoron wrote in his ruling that NY AG Letitia James’ investigation of Trump Org uncovered “copious evidence of possible financial fraud.” This Trump problem is NOT going away (h/t to #TeamJustice editor @petersoby): pic.twitter.com/UUeNqDMM3k
— Glenn Kirschner (@glennkirschner2) February 20, 2022
Engoron held an impromptu hearing on Friday without a court stenographer, in which he addressed the affidavits from Trump and his lawyers and ruled to keep the contempt fine in place. The judge was insistent that Trump provide the “who, when, where, what” of his search, asking at one point: “Where did he keep files? I assume it wasn’t all in his head.”
Judge Arthur Engoron said a contempt finding was appropriate because Trump and his lawyers hadn’t shown they had conducted a proper search for records sought by the subpoena.#usanews #newsoftheday #trump #piersuncensored #DonaldTrump #fraud pic.twitter.com/AHFJaGy1lo
— USA NEWS 🇺🇸 (@wtxnewsusa) April 26, 2022
AG James had asked Judge Engoron to hold Trump in contempt after he failed to produce any documents by a March 31st court deadline. In his ruling, Engoron said that Trump and his lawyers not only failed to meet the deadline, but they also failed to document the steps they had taken to search for the documents, as required under case law.
Engoron now wants a so-called "Jackson affidavit," a detailed recounting of what has been searched, and how, typically called for when a subpoenaed document cannot be found.
— Graham Kates (@GrahamKates) April 29, 2022
The Manhattan district attorney’s own investigation into the Trump Organization has resulted only in tax fraud charges against the company and its longtime finance chief, Allen Weisselberg, relating to lucrative fringe benefits such as rent, car payments and school tuition. The company and Weisselberg have pleaded not guilty.