Lawyers for Donald Trump, seeking to overturn his client’s $10,000-a-day contempt fine, provided a New York judge Friday with an affidavit the former president says he has taken from the state attorney general’s office. Didn’t change the documents submitted because he didn’t have them.
The judge, however, was adamant and refused to lift the sanctions imposed on Trump on Monday. Judge Arthur Angoron criticized the lack of detail in the Trump affidavit, which amounted to two paragraphs, asking him to trace the methods used to store his records and the efforts made to trace the summons files. Should have told about it.
In the affidavit, which was signed by Trump and dated Wednesday, the former president said the documents sought in Attorney General Letitia James’ civil investigation of his business deals were not in his personal possession. Trump said that any documents he believed would be in the possession of his company, the Trump Organization.
In other affidavits, Trump’s attorneys Alina Habba and Michael Madao detailed steps to unearth documents in a December 1 summons, including a meeting with Trump in Mar-a-Lago, Florida last month, and files from his company. Includes review of discoveries.
Andrew Amer, an attorney with the attorney general’s office, said in a court filing that the affidavit “provides some additional information” regarding Trump’s efforts to comply with the subpoena, which required more extensive searches — including Trump Tower. , their housing and electronics included. Instruments – must consider reversing a contempt judgment before the judge.
Frank Runyon, a reporter for Legal Publishing Law360said Angoron held an impromptu hearing on Friday without any court stenographers, in which he addressed the affidavits of Trump and his lawyers and ruled to uphold the contempt.
‘Where did he put the files?’
Runyon, one of the few members of the news media to attend the unintentional hearing, reported that Angoron was urging that Trump provide “who, when, where, what” of his finding, the judge asked at one point: ” Where did he keep the files? I guess it wasn’t all on his mind.”
Habba filed a notice of appeal with the Appellate Division of the state’s trial court on Wednesday, seeking to overturn Angoron’s contempt decision. Trump is also challenging Angoron’s February 17 decision to require him to answer questions under oath. Oral arguments in that appeal are set for May 11.
James has said his investigation has uncovered evidence that Trump has misrepresented the value of properties such as skyscrapers and golf courses on his financial statements for more than a decade. His December 1 summons asked for a number of documents, including his financial statements and paperwork and communications related to various development projects.
James asked Angoron to hold Trump in contempt after he failed to produce any documents by the March 31 court deadline. In his decision, Angoron said that Trump and his attorney not only failed to meet the deadline, but also failed to document the steps they took to search for documents required under the case law.
Trump is suing James in federal court to try to stop the investigation. Oral debate in that matter is to be held on May 13.
Trump has said the James investigation and a separate criminal investigation supervised by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg are politically motivated. James and Bragg are Democrats, and Trump is a Republican.
Bragg said this month that the three-year-old investigation he inherited from his predecessor Cyrus Vance Jr. in January is continuing “without fear or favour” despite recent setbacks in the investigation’s leadership. Trump’s lawyers argue that James is using his civil investigation to gain access to information that could be used in a criminal investigation against him.
So far, the District Attorney’s investigation has resulted in charges of tax fraud against the Trump Organization and its longtime finance chief Alan Weiselberg related to lucrative fringe benefits such as rent, car payments and school tuition. The company and Weiselberg have pleaded not guilty.