Image Source: The Guardian
On Wednesday, a New York judge dismissed former President Donald Trump’s civil contempt conviction and ordered him to pay $110,000 in fines if certain conditions were met.
Judge Arthur Engoron set a slew of conditions that must be met by May 20, or the contempt finding will be reinstated, which may be retroactive. Among the criteria are providing sworn declarations describing the Trump Organization’s document retention and destruction protocols, including how Post-it notes were handled, as well as completing the review of five boxes associated with Trump that were housed off-site. A written ruling is expected to be published later Wednesday.
The judge also agreed to let Trump place the fee into an escrow account while he appealed the contempt ruling.
He did, though, inform Trump’s lawyer: “I’d like to see the fine paid. The fines have now been raised to $110,000.”
The judge postponed the penalties as of last Friday after Trump’s attorneys produced newly sworn affidavits, including one from Trump, explaining his efforts to comply with the New York attorney general’s office’s subpoena for records.
The New York attorney general’s office attempted to hold Trump in contempt after he failed to comply with a demand for materials issued in December 2021. The attorney general’s office is investigating the Trump Organization’s financial statements, which were submitted to lenders, insurers, and for tax purposes.
A state attorney, Andrew Amer, focused on whether Trump’s Post-it notes, which he was known to use to interact with his staff, were turned over at a hearing on Wednesday.
“To our knowledge, there haven’t been any documents with Post-its on them. And, given Mr. Trump’s claims that it was a method for him to communicate, it’s one of the weird aspects of the production thus far.” Ames believes so. He advocated that the policy on document retention and destruction include Post-it note management.
The Trump Organization’s top counsel informed Alina Habba, an attorney for Trump, that all Post-it notes had previously been delivered to the attorney general’s office. She held out a stack of Post-its to the court and stated, “It’s a little comical.” “Do you use Post-its on a regular basis?”
The court advised them to create a new legal tactic known as a Post-it affidavit. The judge also requested that Trump’s attorneys describe any attempts to reach former Trump executive assistants and whether they could be located.
On Friday, Trump submitted an amended affidavit to the judge, indicating that he no longer owns Trump Organization-issued cell phones and that his personal cell phone had been surrendered for search. Habba stated she personally searched every nightstand, desk, and closet at Trump’s home and found no documents sought by the subpoena.