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Judge says Trump must pay $110,000 fine, meet other conditions to purge contempt

Stock Markets May 11, 2022 06:46PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally to boost Ohio Republican candidates ahead of their May 3 primary election, at the county fairgrounds in Delaware, Ohio, U.S. April 23, 2022. REUTERS/Gaelen Morse
 
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By Karen Freifeld and Luc Cohen

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Former U.S. President Donald Trump must pay a $110,000 fine and meet other conditions to purge a contempt of court order over his failure to comply with a subpoena in a civil probe into his business practices by New York state's attorney general, a judge said on Wednesday.

The judge, Arthur Engoron, also accused Trump during a virtual hearing of making a false statement in an affidavit relating to the subpoena seeking documents concerning his family real estate business, the Trump Organization.

Engoron said a $10,000-per-day fine he imposed on Trump in April for his failure to comply with the subpoena stopped accruing on Friday, when the former president and his lawyers filed new affidavits detailing steps they took to find documents relevant to Attorney General Letitia James' investigation.

Trump said in the May 6 sworn statement that he does not have any relevant documents.

Engoron took issue with Trump's claim in the affidavit that he has not communicated digitally since 2010, pointing to his past posts on Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and current posts on Truth Social, a network he founded.

"We all know he uses electronic communication - 80 million people were on his Twitter feed," Engoron said. "A sentence has to be true. That sentence is just not true."

Michael Madaio, a lawyer for Trump, said the statement was not meant to imply that Trump did not post on social media. Alina Habba, another Trump lawyer, said Trump did not use direct messaging on Twitter and that his tweets were not relevant to the investigation.

"Everything relevant to the (attorney general's) subpoena has been produced," Habba said.

The judge gave Trump until May 20 to comply with the additional conditions, or else the contempt order could be restored and the fine reinstated retroactively.

The conditions include having a third-party firm that has been hired to search the Trump Organization's records submit a report about Trump's compliance with the subpoena.

Engoron also asked for affidavits from several Trump Organization employees and lawyers, as well as a sworn statement from a Trump assistant about how the assistant handled Trump's documents.

Once Trump pays the fine, the funds will be held in escrow pending his appeal of the contempt order.

PARALLEL CRIMINAL PROBE

James has said her probe has turned up evidence that the Trump Organization - which manages hotels, golf courses and other real estate around the world - has given banks and tax authorities misleading financial information to obtain benefits such as favorable loans and tax breaks.

A Republican, Trump denies wrongdoing and calls the investigation politically motivated. James is a Democrat.

The Manhattan District Attorney's office, now run by Alvin Bragg, is also conducting a criminal investigation into how the Trump Organization valued its assets, which led to last summer's indictment of the company's chief financial officer on tax fraud charges.

Trump in February appealed a ruling by Engoron that he and his oldest children Donald Trump Jr and Ivanka Trump testify in James' civil probe, saying their words could be used against them in Bragg's probe in violation of their constitutional rights.

Some lawyers from James' office are working with Bragg's team on the criminal probe.

At a Wednesday afternoon hearing, a four-judge panel of a state appeals court in Manhattan appeared skeptical of Trump's bid to overturn Engoron's ruling.

Rolando Acosta, the presiding justice, noted that Trump and his children could simply invoke their right against self-incrimination and decline to answer questions.

"You cannot avoid a civil investigation," Acosta said. "The only remedy that you have is to invoke your privilege of not incriminating yourself."

The court did not say when it will rule.

Judge says Trump must pay $110,000 fine, meet other conditions to purge contempt
 

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Comments (8)
Trevor Roberts
LimitUp May 11, 2022 8:30PM ET
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Deep state never sleeps, good job fascist liberals
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins May 11, 2022 7:13PM ET
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Lock him up!
Trevor Roberts
LimitUp May 11, 2022 7:13PM ET
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Yep lock up Joe and the ho
Alan Rice
Alan Rice May 11, 2022 6:10PM ET
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I'd think "a condition" would be about a year in the slammer.
PETER LENK
PETER LENK May 11, 2022 5:11PM ET
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Witch Hunt. Disgraceful. November can't come fast enough.
First Last
First Last May 11, 2022 5:11PM ET
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His unnatural orangeness comes from exposure to the tanning effect of hellfire.  A sign of witchery!
Dennis Wozny
Dennis Wozny May 11, 2022 4:29PM ET
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With all that is happening with this current diaster of a administration, this is what you report ?
First Last
First Last May 11, 2022 4:29PM ET
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There are other articles reporting on other things
Roman Sill
Roman Sill May 11, 2022 4:29PM ET
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but orange man. ORANGE MAN!
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins May 11, 2022 4:29PM ET
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With all that is happening with this current diaster (sic) of a administration, this is what you read and comment on?
First Last
First Last May 11, 2022 3:40PM ET
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"Trump's claim in the affidavit that he has not communicated digitally since 2010" --  How many here have "not communicated digitally since 2010"?  If you have, you should understand Trump is lying.  Again.
John Laurens
John Laurens May 11, 2022 3:40PM ET
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with particular people?... um millions..
James Pattison
James Pattison May 11, 2022 3:06PM ET
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Politcally motivated witch hunt number… i lost count…
Alan Rice
Alan Rice May 11, 2022 1:01PM ET
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Attempting to overthrow American Government -- GOP : (If it weren 't for that darn Pence !! We'll get it next time.) Dems: ("What Treason ??) American Delemma: Whos going to run the Government AFTER Mickey Mouse wins EVERY election ?
First Last
First Last May 11, 2022 1:01PM ET
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Mickey Mouse or an empty chair would've done better job than Trump.
 
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