Judge ‘surprised’ by Trump’s claim he does not have documents needed in investigation 2022-04-29 20:21:00


NEW YORK (Reuters) – A New York judge on Friday expressed surprise that Donald Trump, a man he described as perhaps the world’s most famous real estate developer, was unable to provide any documents required in an investigation into the Trump Organization. his family’s company.

Judge Arthur Engoron said in New York state court in Manhattan in a virtual hearing that he will continue to detain the former US president in contempt of court and fine him $10,000 a day despite Trump’s lawyers requesting that both orders be lifted.

“It’s Donald Trump, the world’s most famous real estate developer, arguably,” the judge said. “I’m surprised he doesn’t seem to have any documents; they are all with the organization.”

Register now to get free unlimited access to Reuters.com

On Monday, Engoron issued the warrants about Trump’s failure to comply with a subpoena for New York Attorney General Letitia James regarding the documents. On Wednesday, Trump signed an affidavit saying he did not believe he had any relevant documents, and if there were any, they would be obtained by the Trump Organization.

On Friday, Engron, who read Trump’s affidavit at the hearing, said the document bore his “unique signature” on what appeared to be Sharpay. But he said it lacked useful details about where Trump keeps his records.

In order to clear the discovery of contempt, Trump will have to provide an affidavit about where his files are located, how they were stored, and who has access to them, as well as determining whether he handed over his personal electronic devices for research and a written order, the judge later said.

In the session, Engoron focused on the small pieces of paper with duct tape on one side that Trump is famous for using. The judge said: “He is famous for what comes after him.” “When he wants to do something, he puts a label on something. I don’t think we’ve received any labels.”

The Trump Organization’s general counsel, Alan Garten, testified as part of the attorney general’s investigation that Trump used sticky notes to communicate with employees, according to court records.

But Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habiba, said Trump does not have any posters.

“You can fine us for 10 months but you won’t get any more documents from Donald Trump,” Heba said. “He doesn’t have the documents you want.”

James says her investigation has already uncovered evidence that the Trump Organization — which operates hotels, golf courses and other properties around the world — has given banks and tax authorities misleading financing information in order to obtain financial benefits such as favorable loans and tax credits.

Engoron said he would consider Heba’s request to end the fine. “But if you don’t hear from me,” he said, “the clock is still ticking.”

Trump, a Republican, denies any wrongdoing and calls the investigation politically motivated. James is a Democrat. Heba said Friday that she will continue her appeal against the contempt order and the fine that followed Engoron’s oral ruling.

Register now to get free unlimited access to Reuters.com

(Reporting by Karen Freifeld and Luke Cohen in New York; Editing by Howard Goller and Daniel Wallis

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.