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Judge orders $10,000-a-day fine against Donald Trump, for now

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A New York judge said on Wednesday he was “conditionally” serving a contempt order against former President Donald Trump as long as he provided more information about the documents sought by the state attorney general’s office. by the end of next week.

In the meantime, Judge Arthur Engoron said he was suspending the $10,000-a-day contempt fine he imposed on Trump last month, but Trump still had to pay the $110,000 in fines. accumulated to date.

The judge found Trump in civil contempt of court and ordered him to pay the daily fine until he turned over documents subpoenaed by the office of New York State Attorney General Letitia James, or provide proof that he didn’t have the documents.

Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, filed court documents on Friday detailing efforts that had been made on Trump’s behalf to find the documents and other information the attorney general’s office was seeking for its investigation into the company’s business practices. Trump organization.

Habba said they conducted “a diligent, thorough and complete search of all documents and information requested by the subpoena”, including trying to find Trump’s old cell phones.

His filing indicates that Trump does not know where the phones are and that he “currently only has two phones in his personal possession: (i) an iPhone; and (ii) a new phone that was recently given to him by TruthSocial and which is used exclusively for publication on this site.”

Habba added that she personally searched Trump’s properties in New Jersey and Florida last week to try to find the documents. “I diligently searched every room in the Respondents’ private residence at Mar-a-Lago, including all desks, drawers, bedside tables, dressers, closets, etc. I could not find any documents meeting to the subpoena that has not already been produced to the OAG by the Trump Organization,” he said.

She said she conducted a similar search of Trump’s office in Florida, and another Trump lawyer searched his office and residence at Trump Tower in New York. Searches were also conducted in various filing cabinets, according to the filing.

The judge, who denied an earlier appeal by Trump’s lawyers to suspend the fine because their responses were not detailed enough, credited the lawyers’ progress.

He said he would end the fines and purge the contempt ruling if Trump’s team met three goals by May 20: provide a description of the Trump Organization’s records retention and destruction policies ; complete the examination of five of the 17 boxes in an offsite storage facility; and paid the $110,000 in fines Trump had accrued to date.

“Failure to comply with any of the above conditions will result in the reinstatement of the contempt order and reinstatement of the fine retroactive to Saturday, May 7,” the judge’s ruling reads.

James, whose office had opposed Trump’s request to waive the fine, said in a statement: “For years, Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization have attempted to thwart our legal investigation, but the decision today makes it clear that no one can escape responsibility”.

Adam Reiss

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