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(WABNEWS) — New York Attorney General Letitia James asked a New York court Thursday to hold former President Donald Trump in civil contempt for allegedly failing to comply with a court order to turn over certain documents for her investigation.
State Judge Arthur Engoron ordered Trump in February to “comply in full” with the attorney general’s subpoena seeking documents and information. Engoron also ruled that Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump must comply with subpoenas from the attorney general to testify, but the Trumps have appealed that decision.RELATED
In a motion filed Thursday, the attorney general’s office said Trump “absolutely failed to comply” with the subpoena for documents and that his attorneys said he would not produce “any” documents in response to the subpoena because his attorneys believe that if documents exist, the Trump Organization would have them, and the attorney general’s office “will just have to wait until the Trump Organization completes its production to get them.”
According to new documents, his office has agreed to extend the early March deadline for documents to March 31. But instead of filing the documents that day, Trump filed 16 objections to the subpoena demands.
Trump’s attorneys also submitted to the attorney general’s office an affidavit from a Trump attorney stating that the former president was unable to locate the documents and, to the extent they existed, they were in the custody of the Trump Organization, which faces a separate citation deadline.
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James argued Thursday that Trump’s lawyers’ response amounted to “further delay and obfuscation,” saying his objections came too late. He said it was “highly likely that Trump was in possession, custody or control of numerous documents” related to his investigation and that he did not adequately detail the efforts he undertook to search for the subpoenaed documents.
“Mr. Trump must now be held in civil contempt and fined an amount sufficient to compel him to comply with the court order and compensate the OAG for its fees and costs associated with this motion,” the filing states.
James is asking the court to impose a fine of $10,000 per day, or any other amount the court deems “sufficient to compel him to comply with the February 2022 injunction,” as well as compensation for costs and fees. of the attorney general’s offices in filing the motion.
An attorney for Trump said in a statement Thursday that “we are prepared to adamantly oppose the frivolous and baseless motion filed today by the Attorney General’s office.”
“Our client has consistently complied with the many requests to disclose evidence presented by the Attorney General’s office over the years,” said attorney Alina Habba.
James previously said his office found multiple misleading or fraudulent misstatements and omissions in the Trump Organization’s financial statements, which were provided to lenders and insurers, among others, as part of its investigation.
In addition to the civil investigation launched by James, the Trump Organization is also facing a criminal investigation led by the Manhattan District Attorney. Public upheaval has surrounded the investigation of District Attorney Alvin Bragg Jr., which he inherited from his predecessor, Cyrus Vance, following the high-profile departure of two top prosecutors.
Bragg told WABNEWS in an interview Thursday that his office’s investigation “is ongoing” and prosecutors are reviewing new evidence.
This story has been updated with additional details.