Judge Rejects Trump Bid to Purge Contempt Ruling

Judge Rejects Trump Bid to Purge Contempt Ruling
President Donald Trump looks on during a ceremony presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to wrestler Dan Gable in the Oval Office of the White House, on Dec. 7, 2020. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump’s affidavit saying he does not have documents sought by New York prosecutors has been rejected by a judge.

Trump and two of his lawyers said in affidavits filed with the New York Supreme Court on April 29 that searches of inventories uncovered none of the documents New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking in her investigation of the Trump Organization.

That included searches of paper files maintained by Trump’s executive assistants and of files stored at an off-site location, Alina Habba, one of the lawyers, told the court. Habba also emphasized that she spoke to Trump personally and asked whether he had any of the documents.

Based on the searches and interviews, “I determined that respondent was not in possession of any documents responsive” to the subpoena, Habba said.

Trump’s affidavit says that to the best of his knowledge he does not have the documents requested in the subpoena and that if there are any documents responsive to the subpoena, he thinks the Trump Organization would have them.

“At all relevant times, I have authorized, and continue to authorize, the release of a responsive document to the office of the attorney general,” he added.

James, a Democrat, filed the subpoena in December 2021 as she investigates potential misconduct by the Trump Organization.

New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron said the subpoena was legitimate. On April 25, he found Trump in contempt. The judge said Trump failed to prove he adequately responded to the subpoena.

While the contempt ruling is in place, Trump must pay a fine of $10,000 per day.

In appealing the ruling, Trump’s lawyers filed the trio of affidavits as they attempt to get the ruling purged, which the judge has said will happen once Trump proves his compliance.

The sworn statements failed to convince the judge.

The lawyers’ statements “fail to specify who searched for each respective request, at what time, where, and using what search protocols,” the judge in a denial issued after a virtual conference, adding that the lawyers did not affirm that Trump’s electronic devices were searched.

“Furthermore, Mr. Trump’s personal affidavit is completely devoid of any useful detail. Notably, it fails to state where he kept his files, how his files were stored in the regular course of business, who had access to such files, what, if any, the retention policy was for such files, and, importantly, where he believes such files are currently located,” Engoron said.

The denial was made without prejudice, meaning Trump’s team can seek to purge the contempt status in the future.

From The Epoch Times

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