Judge Arthur Engoron despised Trump for not complying with a summons for evidence in the Advocate General’s civil inquiry into his business dealings.
Trump, in an affidavit, said he did not have any documents that had been summoned by the Attorney General’s Office in New York, but Judge Engoron remained unsatisfied and rejected the proposal.
“As far as I know, (i) I do not have in my personal possession any of the documents requested in the summons of 1 December 2021; and (ii) if there are documents corresponding to the summons, I believe they will be in the possession or custody of the “Trump,” Trump’s affidavit said. “At all relevant times, I have authorized, and continue to authorize, the publication of a response letter to the Attorney General’s Office.”
The judge, however, was not moved and refused to lift the sanctions. In addition, Engoron criticized the lack of detail in Trump’s two-paragraph affidavit, saying he should have explained the methods he uses to store his files and the efforts he made to locate the summoned files.
In other affidavits, Trump’s lawyers, Alina Hampa and Michael Mantaio, detail the steps they took to locate documents in the Dec. 1 summons, including last month’s meeting with Trump in Mar-a-Lago, Florida. examination of previous investigations in the records of his company.
Attorney General Andrew Amer told the court that while affidavits “provide some additional information” about Trump’s efforts to comply with the summons, more extensive investigations were needed – including into the Trump Tower’s home. and electronic devices – before the judge should consider reversing the contempt finding.
Hampa filed an appeal Wednesday with the appellate panel of the state court of first instance seeking to overturn Engoron’s contempt decision. Trump is also challenging Engoron’s Feb. 17 decision, which requires him to answer questions under oath. Oral hearings on this appeal are scheduled for 11 May.
“Today’s events have made it overwhelmingly clear that this case has nothing to do with the proper application of the legal principles governing the disclosure of the findings,” Hampa said after the ruling. “The Court has completely disregarded the detailed affidavits demonstrating the meticulous efforts made to carry out this inquiry. “Direct comments in the press have limited this hearing to a public spectacle. We will diligently pursue our appeal. The improper application of both the law and the facts by the Court.”
Attorney General Letitia James said her investigation revealed evidence that Trump may have questioned the value of assets such as skyscrapers and golf courses in his financial statements for more than a decade. The December 1 summons required numerous documents, including documents and announcements about his financial statements and various development projects.
James asked Engoron to despise Trump after he did not provide any documents by the March 31 deadline. In his ruling, Engoron said Trump and his lawyers not only failed to meet the deadline, but also failed to document the steps they had taken to seek the documents, as required by case law.
Trump is suing James in federal court in an attempt to stop her investigation. The oral hearings on this subject are scheduled for 13 May.
Trump recently described her as a “Green Democrat” and said in written statements that her investigation and the parallel criminal investigation overseen by Manhattan Prosecutor Alvin Bragg was “the continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time.”
Bragg said this month that the three-year criminal investigation he inherited in January from his predecessor, Cyrus Vance Jr., was continuing “without fear or favor” despite a recent reversal of the investigation. Trump’s lawyers argue that James is using her political investigation to gain access to information that could later be used against him in the criminal investigation.
So far, the prosecutor’s investigation has only led to allegations of tax fraud against the Trump Organization and its longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, for lucrative marginal benefits such as rent, car payments and tuition. The company and Weisselberg have pleaded not guilty.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)
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