Donald Trump Fails To Purge Contempt Order & End Fine In NY Court

Donald Trump’s bid to purge his civil contempt and end a $10,000-a-day fine was rejected by a New York judge on Friday, despite a sworn affidavit by the former U.S. president claiming he has none of the documents sought by the state in its investigation into the Trump Organization.

Donald TrumpPhoto Credit: Shutterstock

“To the best of my knowledge, I do not have any of the documents requested in the subpoena dated December 1, 2021 in my personal possession; and if there are any documents responsive to the subpoena I believe they would be in the possession or custody of the Trump Organization,” Trump swore in the affidavit, dated Wednesday.

In the impromptu off-the-record hearing Friday, Trump’s attorney Alina Habba insisted the former president was now in compliance and had purged his contempt, citing Trump’s affidavit, and her own. The argument drew a harsh rebuttal from counsel for New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office, who said the filing “doesn’t really cut it” — and the judge agreed.

“The request for me to find that the contempt has been purged is denied,” New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur F. Engoron said in the virtual hearing. “My main point is I still want to know who, when, where, what.”

“Where did he keep files? I assume it wasn’t all in his head,” Justice Engoron said, adding that he was “disappointed” with the lack of information from the former president.

“I think it’s fair to say Mr. Trump is famous for using his mobile phones,” the judge noted, adding that he would like to see admissible evidence that all the subpoena-demanded electronic searches had actually been done.

After the hearing, Trump’s attorney vowed to appeal Judge Engoron’s decision swiftly.

“I don’t have more documents to give you,” Habba said. “So you could fine us for 10 months … but you’re not going to get any more documents from Donald Trump.”

Counsel for the state said Trump’s representation simply failed to show they did a sufficiently thorough search for the requested records.

“Mr. Trump’s affidavit really says not much at all,” government counsel Andrew Amer stated. “It really doesn’t cut it to just ask a person, ‘Do you remember if you have documents that meet this subpoena from the past 10 years?’ Of course a person is not going to recall.”

Judge Engoron did however say he would consider a last-minute oral motion by Habba to end the fine.

“I will consider your request to eliminate the fine, but if you don’t hear from me, it’s still in effect — the clock is still ticking,” Justice Engoron said.

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