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Saturday, Jan 28, 2023

Trump pays $110,000 in fines after being held in contempt of court

Trump pays $110,000 in fines after being held in contempt of court

A Manhattan judge had fined the ex-president for not complying with a subpoena related to the investigation of his businesses
Donald Trump has paid $110,000 in fines after being held in contempt of court for being slow to respond to a civil subpoena issued by the attorney general of New York state.

The news on one front in the former president’s many legal battles came shortly after a big development on another, the news that Trump’s former US attorney general, William Barr, is in discussions about testifying in front of the House committee investigating the deadly Capitol attack.

The House investigation of January 6 has produced a criminal contempt charge for one Trump ally, the former White House strategist Steve Bannon.

Letitia James, the New York attorney general, is conducting a civil investigation of Trump’s business affairs.

Last week, a lawyer for James’s office said evidence could support legal action against Trump, his company or both, but a final decision had not been made.

James, a Democrat, has said her three-year investigation uncovered evidence the Trump Organization misstated the value of assets like skyscrapers and golf courses for over a decade.

Trump, a Republican, denies James’s allegations. He has called James’s investigation “racist” and a politically motivated “witch-hunt”. Trump’s lawyers have accused James of selective prosecution. Trump is suing James in federal court, seeking to shut down her investigation.

Trump paid the contempt of court fine on Thursday but must still submit additional paperwork to have the contempt order lifted, James’s office said.

A Manhattan judge declared Trump in contempt of court on 25 April and fined him $10,000 a day for not complying with a subpoena in the long-running investigation into his business practices.

Arthur Engoron agreed on 11 May to lift the contempt order if Trump paid the fines by 20 May and submitted affidavits detailing efforts to search for the subpoenaed records and explaining his and his company’s document retention policies.

Engoron also required that a company hired by Trump to aid the search, HaystackID, finish going through 17 boxes in off-site storage and for that company to report its findings and turn over any relevant documents. That process was completed on Thursday, James’s office said.

Engoron told Trump to pay the money and for the attorney general to hold it in an escrow account while Trump’s legal team appeals the original contempt finding.

Engoron stopped the fine from accruing on 6 May, when Trump’s lawyers submitted 66 pages of documents detailing efforts to locate subpoenaed records. The judge warned that he could reinstate it, retroactive to 7 May, if conditions were not met.

A message seeking comment was left with Trump’s lawyer.
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