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Trump Appeals New York Contempt Ruling

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Trump Appeals New York Contempt Ruling, Fine Over Failure to Comply With Subpoena

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Donald Trump has appealed a New York judge’s decision to hold him in contempt of court and punish him $10,000 per day for failing to cooperate with a subpoena for evidence in a civil investigation of his business operations by the state attorney general.

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Alina Habba, Trump’s lawyer, filed a notice of appeal with the state’s trial court’s appellate division on Wednesday, the second time in two months that Trump has sought to reverse Manhattan Judge Arthur Engoron’s verdict against him in a subpoena dispute.

Habba questioned the legal foundation for Engoron’s contempt finding Monday in court documents, stating that Trump had lawfully answered to the subpoena and that Attorney General Letitia James’ office failed to establish Trump’s actions were meant to thwart, hinder, obstruct, or prejudice the inquiry.

Habba stated that James’ office declined to engage in good-faith conversations before seeking a sanction against Trump. Habba stated in a statement released following the ruling Monday that “all applicable papers to the demand were given to the attorney general months ago.”

James said in a statement on Wednesday that Engoron’s order made it plain that Trump was in contempt of court.

We’ve seen this pattern before, and it’s never deterred our investigation into Mr. Trump and his company, according to James. “This time is no exception.”

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Trump is fighting Engoron’s Feb. 17 judgement requiring him to answer questions under oath in another subpoena battle. According to James, the investigation discovered evidence that Trump may have overstated the worth of assets such as skyscrapers and golf courses for over a decade. The appeal’s oral arguments are set for May 11.

Along with Trump’s testimony, James’ office issued subpoenas for a slew of documents, including financial statements, financing and debt for a Chicago hotel project, development plans for his Seven Springs Estate north of New York City, and even communications with Forbes magazine, where he tried to burnish his image as a wealthy businessman.

After Trump failed to submit any records by a March 31 court deadline, James, a Democrat, sought Engoron to hold him in contempt. Engoron stated in his judgement that Trump and his lawyers not only missed the deadline, but also failed to disclose the procedures they took to locate the documents.

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In a written version of his order, Engoron said Trump produced 16 pages of boilerplate objections and a four-page statement by counsel that asserts, in summary, that Mr. Trump was unable to identify any responsive papers in his custody. The affirmation is silent on what search methods were used, where they were used, by whom they were used, or where they were conducted.

Habba claimed at a hearing on Monday that she went to considerable pains to comply with the subpoena, even travelling to Trump’s Florida residence to ask him explicitly whether he had any papers that might be responsive to the demand.

Trump does not send emails or text messages, and he does not have a business computer at home or anywhere else, according to Habba. Engoron took issue with the lack of specificity in her written response to the subpoena and wondered why it didn’t contain an affidavit from Trump himself.

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The attorney general’s probe is covering much of the same terrain, focusing in part on what the attorney general claims is a habit of misrepresenting the worth of his assets to banks and tax officials.

The investigation was hampered, Assistant Attorney General Andrew Amer told Engoron, since “we don’t have evidence from the person at the head of this group.” He claimed that Mr. Trump’s refusal to turn up information in response to the subpoena was effectively a defiance of the court’s decision.

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