New York State Attorney General Letia James is speaking at a news conference in New York City, USA, on May 21, 2021, to announce criminal justice reform.
Brendon McDermide | Reuters
New York Attorney General Letitia James on Thursday asked a judge to arrest former President Donald Trump on contempt of court charges for refusing to comply with a judge’s order to return documents for his company’s investigation.
James Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engorn asked Trump to pay 10,000 10,000 a day in fines for failing to surrender the documents.
The attorney general further stated in the court filing that Trump is violating Engorn’s order to document state investigators by March 31, according to a subpoena, a deadline previously extended to March 3.
James is investigating allegations that the Trump organization manipulated the values of various real estate assets to apply for loans and insurance and to obtain better financial terms for tax purposes.
“The judge’s order was very clear: Donald J. Trump must comply with our subpoena and return the relevant documents to my office,” James said in a statement.
“Instead of obeying the court order, Mr. Trump wants to avoid it. We want the court to intervene immediately because no one is above the law.”
Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In February, Engorn instructed Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump to answer questions under oath under James’ investigators, and Trump would have to provide additional documents from James’s office separately.
While Trump appealed against the order to submit question papers, he did not appeal against the order to surrender documents.
And instead of “fully complying” with the unequivocal direction of the court by producing all
Responsive documents by March 31, Mr. Trump did not comply at all, “James said in his filing.
Instead, Trump “objected to each of the eight document requests in the subpoena on grounds such as overcrowding, burden and lack of specificity,” the filing said.
Trump further said that subject to his objections, he would not present any documents “subpoena response” because his lawyer said no documents were found, the filing said.
Trump also claimed that the lawyer believed that while the documents existed, “the Trump administration has them,” and that the attorney general would have to “wait for the Trump administration to finish them to get them,” the filing said.
In filing another lawsuit last week, James said his investigation found “significant evidence” that Trump’s financial statements relied on misleading assessments of his real estate assets for more than a decade.
This potentially misleading assessment “and other misrepresentations” was used by the company to “secure financial benefits – including debt, insurance coverage and tax deductions – on more favorable terms than factual information,” the previous filing said.
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