Judge denies Trump appeal of contempt order in NY fraud probe

A New York judge on Friday rejected a request from former President Donald Trump to lift a contempt ruling handed down against him earlier in the week for failing to turn over documents sought by state Attorney General Letitia James, but which he claims he simply does not possess, as the Washington Examiner reports.

It was on Monday that New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron issued the contempt order against Trump and levied a $10,000 per day fine, determining that he had not complied with a subpoena in the ongoing financial fraud investigation overseen by James, according to CBS News.

Immediately after Engoron’s ruling was announced, Trump attorney Alina Habba pledged an appeal, saying, “We respectfully disagree with the court’s decision today. All of the documents, as I explained, responsive to the subpoena, were already produced to the attorney general months ago. …There is simply nothing more for him to provide. It was already provided.”

Engoron, however, indicated that more was needed to verify Trump’s claim, noting, “I feel like there’s an 800-pound gorilla in the room, and that is, why don’t we have an affidavit from him? There’s a difference between saying something and saying something under oath.”

As such, Trump filed a sworn affidavit on Friday, stating, “To the best of my knowledge, I do not have any of the documents requested in the subpoena dated December 1, 2021, in my personal possession, and if there are any documents responsive to the subpoena I believe they would be in the possession or custody of the Trump Organization.”

Despite that explanation, however, Trump’s arguments failed to win the day, and his appeal of the Monday ruling went down to defeat.

“Mr. Trump’s personal affidavit is completely devoid of any useful detail,” Engoron said. “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 the files are located.”

Engoron urged Trump to provide additional, more specifically detailed information to the court and left the contempt order in effect, complete with its $10,000-per-day fine, until compliance is achieved.

Expressing frustration with the outcome to Law & Crime, Habba declared on Friday, “Today’s events have made it overwhelmingly clear that this case no longer has anything to do with the proper application of legal principles governing discovery disclosure” and pledged to “zealously prosecute our appeal of the Court’s improper application of both law and fact.”