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Trump Pays $110,000 Fine, But More Actions Are Required to Lift the Contempt Order!

Former President Donald Trump was fined $110,000 in fines after already being found in contempt of court for failing to reply to a civil subpoena state-issued by New York’s attorney general.

Key Facts Of Trump Being Fined
  1. According to the AG spokeswoman, as of early Friday afternoon, Trump had not produced documents describing the Trump Organization’s standards for discarding and maintaining records, which are also forced to remove the contempt order.
  2. Trump has until Friday to fulfill the criteria that New York State Judge Arthur Engoron issued last week in order to have the contempt finding lifted.
  3. On April 25, Trump was found in contempt of court for refusing to turn up tax documents and other financial papers ordered by Attorney General Letitia James (D), according to Engoron, who stated that Trump “didn’t agree at all” with the subpoena.
  4. After Trump’s lawyers stated he didn’t have the records, Engoron offered to overturn the order, but only if Trump paid a fine and provided proof of a thorough search for the materials the AG sought.
  5. Trump’s spokeswoman did not release a statement for comment from Forbes right away, but he has originally called the inquiry a “witch hunt.”

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Background

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After Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, claimed to Congress that Trump and his business associates routinely mispriced assets, James’ office opened a civil investigation three years ago.

Allegations that Trump routinely underestimated properties to save money on taxes and exaggerated them to acquire loans have generated a slew of other inquiries, notably criminal cases in Manhattan and Westchester County, New York. If James’ office finds evidence of Trump’s financial misconduct, he and his commercial empire might face civil charges.

Trump paid the money on Thursday, but the office of Attorney General Letitia James announced Friday that he still needs to file further documentation to have the contempt order released.

Engoron will determine whether the affidavits filed on Friday meet the requirements of the subpoena for which Trump was found in contempt. If they are not adequate, the contempt judgment might be reinstated retroactive to May 7, making Trump fined $130,000 liable for extra damages.

James’ agency had requested records and data from the Trump Organization’s specified file locations and individuals, but it had also highlighted that Trump had failed to turn over multiple phones he had used. In the affidavit filed on May 6, Trump stated that he “does not know the whereabouts” of the phones, which included a Samsung phone he used in the White House that “was stolen from me at some point when he was President.”

On April 25, a Manhattan court found Trump in contempt of court and penalized him $10,000 per day for failing to cooperate with a subpoena in James’ ongoing inquiry into his business activities.

Judge Arthur Engoron consented on May 11 to remove the contempt order provided Trump is fined and filed affidavits documenting his and his company’s ability to locate the requested data and clarifying their document preservation policy by Friday.

Engoron also demanded that a business hired by Trump to assist in the search, HaystackID, finish sifting through 17 boxes stored off-site and report its results as well as turn over any pertinent papers. According to James’ office, the procedure was finished on Thursday.

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On February 17, Trump and two of his children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, were summoned to testify in James’ long-running civil fraud investigation. They filed an appeal against the order to attend and are awaiting a verdict.

Trump did not appeal a portion of the February 17 judgment in which he was compelled to cooperate with James’ documentation subpoena. Engoron gave Trump until March 3 to conform but later asked for an extension to March 31 – a date agreed upon by both parties at the time.

Trump won’t turn over records on that day, and instead filed objections that Engoron and James’ office claimed should have been handled months earlier, resulting in the contempt ruling.

In a February news release, James’ office stated that its extensive investigation had uncovered evidence “indicating that Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization used dishonest and deceptive income reports to gain economic profit.” The investigation initially focused on whether the Trump Organization exaggerated asset valuations to obtain loans and insurance benefits, then reduced them to avoid tax burden.

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Trump has refuted all claims of personal and corporate misconduct on numerous occasions.

During many sessions in the previous month, attorneys for James’ office stated that the probe is nearing completion and that it may result in “enforcement action.” They haven’t said how enforcement will be carried out.

During a meeting last week, Andrew Amer, a lawyer with James’ office, said, “There’s certainly been a substantial amount of evidence amassed that may justify the file of an enforcement process, although the final ruling on bringing that proceeding is still to be reached.”

Two attorneys from James’ office remain committed to a different criminal investigation into Trump and his firm by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, for which a special grand jury recently expired.

In July 2021, the Trump Organization and its CFO, Allen Weisselberg, were charged with criminal wrongdoing and evading taxes as a result of the probe. In February, they filed a motion, and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is likely to answer this month.

Carey Dunne and Mark Pomerantz, two top attorneys, quit in February, less than 2 months after recently elected Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg entered office. Cyrus Vance Jr., who began the probe in August 2018, was succeeded by Bragg.

Vance “deduced that the circumstances supported the prosecution,” according to Pomerantz’s resignation letter, which was published in The New York Times, but Bragg had “made the decision… not to file criminal charges at the current time.”

The criminal investigation “is continuing,” Bragg stated in an April 7 statement, and his detectives and prosecutors are “exploring facts not before investigated.”

While Trump’s legal team fights the judge’s original contempt ruling, Engoron instructed Trump to make the payment straight to James’ office and have the attorney general keep the cash in an escrow account.

When Trump’s attorneys provided 66 pages of court paperwork showing his and his attorneys’ efforts to obtain the subpoenaed records on May 6, Engoron halted the fee from accumulating. If his requirements were not met, he threatened to restore it, retroactive to May 7.

James, a Democrat, has said that her three-year inquiry discovered proof that Trump’s corporation, the Trump Organization, misrepresented the value of the assets such as towers and golf courses on the income statements for more than a decade.

The charges are denied by Trump, a Republican. He’s called James’ inquiry “racist” and a “witch hunt” driven by politics. James is African-American. Trump’s attorneys have charged her with selective prosecution. In addition, Trump has filed a federal lawsuit against James, requesting that she stop her investigation.

A lawyer for James’ office warned last week that information uncovered during the investigation might lead to legal action against the former president, his corporation, or both.

“There’s definitely been a large amount of material accumulated that may support the filing of an enforcement proceeding,” the lawyer, Andrew Amer, said at a hearing in Trump’s lawsuit over James, though no final decision on taking such an operation has been taken.

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