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Trump’s contempt for court fines starts for New York investigation

Donald Trump, President and CEO of the Trump Organization Inc. and Republican presidential candidate in 2016, left, handing out a $ 100,000 check to a veteran charity during a campaign event at the Orpheum Theater in Sioux City, Iowa, USA, on Sunday, January 31st. , 2016.

Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The check is now due, Mr Ex-President.

A New York judge has ruled that Donald Trump will have to pay a fine of $ 10,000 a day on Tuesday after finding him in contempt of court for failing to comply with a state prosecutor’s summons for business-related documents.

“Mr. Trump has deliberately violated a lawful order from the court,” Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron wrote in a three-page ruling Tuesday.

The written order came the day after Engoron held a hearing on the issue and orally ruled that Trump was in contempt of court.

Attorney General Letitia James is investigating the Trump organization and Trump in connection with allegations that the company wrongfully manipulated the stated valuations of various real estate assets to obtain more favorable economic terms for loans and insurance and to lower their tax liabilities.

The Trump organization denies any wrongdoing, and Republican Trump himself has accused James, a Democrat, of a politically motivated witch hunt.

Engoron wrote on Tuesday that “every day that goes by without compliance” by Trump with James’ subpoena, “further prejudice” to the Attorney General’s civil investigation, “as the statute of limitations continues to run and may result in [James] to be unable to pursue certain cause of action [she] otherwise would. “

Former United States President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, USA on February 26, 2022.

Octavio Jones | Reuters

The judge said Trump would have to pay $ 10,000 a day until he convinced the judge he had complied with the lawsuit. The order opened up the possibility that Trump could fulfill the subpoena by stating in an affidavit that he had conducted a thorough search of the records, which his lawyer has claimed he was unable to find.

Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba said Monday that she will appeal Engoron’s contempt for the former president and the associated daily fine.

In February, Engoron had ordered Trump to present certain documents, which James sought through a subpoena.

Earlier this month, James asked the judge to despise Trump for failing to hand over these documents and instead to wait until the deadline for the March 31 order to raise objections to the lawsuit, and to first claim to AG that Trump was unable to find any of the documents.

Engoron wrote in his order Tuesday that Trump had waived his right “to raise boiler objections to the subpoena by not knowing in a timely manner,” making them known when he previously tried to get the judge to cancel the subpoena.

“After agreeing to submit all the documents by March 31, 2022, Mr. Trump can no longer challenge the validity of the subpoena,” Engoron wrote.

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The judge also called “sadly inadequate” the claim by Trump’s lawyer Habba during Monday’s hearing that a search of the records had not found anything that responded to the subpoena.

Engoron said New York case law requires that the person performing such a search for records disclose “who”, “what”, “where”, “when” and “how” the search was performed.

“Mr. Trump has not denied, with permissible evidence, [the Attorney General’s Office’s] detailed allegations that he failed to search several filing cabinets in various locations, “Engoron wrote.

The statement made by Habba to Engoron about the search “gave the Court no basis for finding that the search was thorough or that it had been carried out in good faith in an effort to provide the necessary records to the plaintiff,” the judge wrote. .

“Not only did Mr Trump himself fail to make a statement that this court believes would have been best practice … but the lawyer’s affidavit given on behalf of Mr Trump contained only conclusive statements, rather than details of a careful search. “

On Monday, after finding Trump in contempt, Engoron ordered commercial real estate service giant Cushman & Wakefield to abide by subpoenas issued by James’ office about its appraisals of several Trump Organization properties.

The attorney general said Cushman had “refused to comply with subpoenas for information related to its assessments of three specific Trump-owned properties – Seven Springs Estate, Trump National Golf Club, Los Angeles and 40 Wall Street.”

“Cushman & Wakefield’s work for Donald J. Trump and the Trump organization is clearly relevant to our investigation, and we are pleased that it has now been confirmed by the court,” James said in a statement Monday. “Our investigation will continue without deterrence.

In its own statement Monday, Cushman & Wakefield said: “While acknowledging today’s judgment, any suggestion that Cushman & Wakefield did not respond in good faith to the Attorney General’s investigation remains fundamentally untrue.”

“We made it clear during the hearing that our company has spent significant time, resources and expenses in our efforts to collaborate with the Attorney General’s investigation, including sharing tens of thousands of pieces of information,” the company said. “Again, Cushman & Wakefield confirms that we are behind our appraisers and appraisers.”

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