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Judge: Trump must pay $110,000, meet conditions to lift contempt ruling

A New York judge has stopped the clock on Donald Trumps $10,000-a-day fine for failing to turn over documents in a state civil investigation and said Wednesday hell lift the former presidents contempt finding altogether if he meets certain conditions, including paying $110,000 in fines hes racked up so far.
Judge Arthur Engoron said he will conditionally lift Trumps contempt finding if, by May 20, Trump submits additional affidavits detailing efforts to search for the subpoenaed records and explaining his and his companys document retention policies; a company he hired to aid the search completes its work; and he pays the fines.
Engoron found Trump in contempt on April 25 and fined him $10,000 per day for not complying with a subpoena for documents in New York Attorney General Letitia James investigation into his business practices, which she said has uncovered evidence that Trump may have misstated the value of assets like skyscrapers and golf courses on financial statements for over a decade.
The total Engoron ordered Trump to pay is the amount of fines accrued through last Friday, when Trumps lawyers submitted 66 pages of court documents detailing the efforts by him and his lawyers to locate the subpoenaed records. Engoron could reinstate the fine if the conditions he set forth on Wednesday are not met.
Also Wednesday, a state appellate court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in Trumps appeal in another subpoena matter: Engorons Feb. 17 ruling requiring him to answer questions under oath in James investigation.
A message seeking comment was left with Trumps lawyer.
James, a Democrat, asked Engoron to hold Trump in contempt of court after he failed to produce any documents to satisfy a March 31 deadline to meet the terms of the subpoena.
James office sought numerous documents, including paperwork and communications pertaining to Trump's financial statements, financing and debt for a Chicago hotel project and development plans for his Seven Springs Estate north of New York City, and even communications with Forbes magazine, where he sought to burnish his image as a wealthy businessman.
Trump attorney Alina Habba said in the May 6 filing that the responses to the subpoena were complete and correct and that no relevant documents or information were withheld.
Habba conducted searches of Trumps offices and private quarters at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, and his residence in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, according to the filing, but didnt find any relevant documents that hadnt already been produced. The filing also detailed searches of other locations including file cabinets and storage areas at the Trump Organizations offices in New York.
In a separate sworn affidavit included with the filing, Trump stated there arent any relevant documents that havent already been produced.
He added that he owns two cellphones: an iPhone for personal use that he submitted in March to be searched as part of the subpoena, then submitted again in May; plus a second phone he was recently given thats only used to post on Truth Social, the social media network he started after his ban from Twitter, Facebook and other platforms.
Engorons criteria for lifting the contempt finding were largely in line with conditions James office outlined in its response Monday to the lengthy filing last week in which Trump and his legal team said they had exhausted efforts to find the subpoenaed records.
Those conditions sought by James' office were: Trump submitting another affidavit detailing his and his companys retention and destruction policies for his documents and electronic devices; and allowing the outside firm Trump hired, HaystackID, to finish going through 17 boxes kept at an off-site storage facility, and for that company to issue a report on its findings and turn over any relevant documents.


Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
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