Donald Trump to pay $10ka days for refusing to turn over evidence in New York attorney general case

Former President Donald Trump must pay a fine of $10,000 a day until he turns the evidence over to New York’s attorney general, after a state judge on Monday ran out of patience with Trump’s persistent refusal to follow the law. .

New York Judge Arthur F. Engoron oversaw AG’s nearly two-year battle to remove evidence of the Trump Organization during the state office’s ongoing investigation into alleged corporate bank fraud. company. The judge issued his order in court this morning and said contempt was appropriate because of Mr. Trump’s “repeated delays and failures.”

“Mr. Trump, I know you take your business very seriously. And I take my issue very seriously,” Engoron said.

AG Letitia James is achieving what may be the final stages of her Trump Organization investigation into how the company has, for years, routinely inflated asset values ​​— something its investigators she considers a conspiracy to evade taxes and defraud banks.

In February, the judge ordered Trump and his two adult children – executives Ivanka Trump and Don Jr. – to testify at a trial. While they continue to fight that on appeal, Trump himself is still obligated to turn over the record.

Trump missed the March 3 deadline, which was extended until the end of that month, and has yet to turn a page. Earlier this month, the AG’s office asked the judge to intervene.

Kevin C. Wallace, an assistant attorney general, told the court: “He’s pulling his teeth to get documents.

Meanwhile, Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, has launched “a political crusade”.

“The attorney general’s fact-finding efforts have continued to expand and grow in unreasonable and burdensome ways,” she told the court. “This is really a fishing expedition.”

The Trump Organization is turning over the final batch of evidence that investigators say they must consider before deciding whether to formally sue the company for violations of state business laws. While the law enforcement effort is civil in nature, this parallel investigation has fueled much of the criminal investigation led by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

AG’s actions now are paramount, as the Manhattan DA’s investigation appears to be failing. A grand jury convened to consider indicting Trump on criminal charges is set to expire later this week and prosecutors have not been allowed to seek an indictment because of the reluctance of the new DA, who Inheriting the investigation, Alvin Bragg Jr.

If the office of AG takes action against the Trump Organization, it will do so under New York’s executive law 63 (12), which allows law enforcement to essentially kill any business. engage in “repeated fraudulent or illegal conduct”. If she prevails, the Trump family’s corporate empire may also have to pay monetary damages.

The battle for evidence has been long and difficult. Since the time the AG investigation began in March 2019, while Trump was still in the White House, state investigators have encountered stiff opposition from the Trump Organization. AG went public with its effort in August 2020, when it initially asked the court to intervene. Eric, another adult Trump executive son, was forced to testify behind closed doors — but only dodged questions by pleading with the Fifth Amendment against nearly 500 self-incriminations. time.

Fast-forward to January of this year, when the AG’s office revealed in court documents about the myriad ways the Trump Organization has altered the value of its assets — including giving numbers that have no basis in reality. facts — what James would later call “substantial evidence” of fraud. One clear example highlighted by investigators was how Trump allegedly priced Trump Tower on New York City’s Fifth Avenue on official financial statements by asserting that the apartment was dangerous. His three-story russia covers an area of ​​30,000 square feet, although in reality that is only a third of that.

Then, the company’s longtime accountants at Mazars USA suddenly left them and turned down previous jobs they had done for Trump.

In court on Monday, Trump’s personal lawyer tried to make the case that Trump should not be held in court for failing to turn over evidence because AG’s office had given him a loophole: only filing documents that your company has not filed. .

Habba confirmed that the company had turned over the records. However, the Trump Organization has yet to complete the paperwork, so investigators are still missing some evidence.

The judge’s chief law clerk, Allison R. Greenfield, criticized what she identified as contradictory.

“How can you say they’re all manufactured but the other end of the line says they’ll be produced later?” Greenfield asked.

Habba then fabricated the situation to “miscommunicate” the AG office, saying “this led to a huge misunderstanding.” The attorney explains how she recently flew south to Trump’s personal estate at Mar-a-Lago in South Florida, where the twice-impeached former president assured her he was not has any record of valuing his property (among other reasons, because he allegedly didn’t text or email).

That surprised the judge and the attorney general’s attorneys, because Habba didn’t confirm any of that in the pre-hearing legal paperwork.

“The problem is there’s nothing on the record,” Greenfield told Habba. “We wouldn’t be here today if you just provided an affidavit.”

“There is a difference between saying something and taking an oath of something,” the judge noted.

“Donald Trump doesn’t believe he’s above the law,” Habba said. “He has nothing left to give. My client is an honest person, much to the disappointment of the people in this room.”

But the attorney general’s attorneys insist that even sworn documents aren’t enough, because investigators want to see the files for themselves.

“We know Mr. Trump has two cell phones… the only way is to take a picture and look at the phone,” said assistant attorney general Andrew S. Amer. “We definitely know him tweeting.”

“We have no cooperation. It affects every other aspect of the investigation. We are being thwarted in our efforts to fully investigate, as we have no evidence from the head of this organization,” Amer said. Donald Trump to pay $10ka days for refusing to turn over evidence in New York attorney general case


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