Trump says he lost cellphones requested by New York attorney general

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Topline

Former President Donald Trump said he had no more cellphones requested by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) in her investigation into alleged fraud by the Trump Organization, in Trump’s latest attempt to suspend a fine of $10,000 per day for contempt.

Highlights

In an affidavit dated Friday, Trump said he had turned over all the material in his possession that James’ office had subpoenaed, in his last effort to end the daily fine that amounted to up to present at $140,000.

The fine was imposed by Manhattan Judge Arthur Engoron, who accepted James’ claim that Trump failed to comply with a subpoena from his office requesting documents and information related to the investigation into the fraud.

Trump said he was not in possession of any phones or similar devices from the Trump Organization, adding that four phones he previously owned were missing, including a Samsung phone that was taken from him “at some point”. when he was president.

Trump said he only has two cell phones: an iPhone for personal use and a new phone used exclusively for posting on Truth Social, the “unwoke” social media platform founded by Trump.

Trump said he submitted his personal iPhone to be searched and photographed in March pursuant to the subpoena, and then again in May, out of “abundance of caution.”

Trump said he did not personally follow up on documents such as those subpoenaed by the attorney general’s office, and allowed his attorneys to search his personal residence and office at the Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey. , his personal residence and office at the Mar-a-Lago club in Florida and his personal residence at Trump Tower in New York for the requested documents.

Tangent

James’ investigation into the Trump Organization’s business practices is a civil investigation, not a criminal investigation. A guilty verdict in a civil case usually does not carry penalties such as imprisonment, but often does result in fines or other penalties. Additionally, civil cases require less conclusive evidence than criminal cases to establish a guilty verdict. Trump is under criminal investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, although the future of the case remains uncertain after two prosecutors handling the case resigned in February.

Key Context

James’ office claims the Trump Organization systematically misrepresented the value of its own assets in order to obtain benefits such as loans, insurance coverage and tax deductions. However, the bureau needs to gather additional information and testimony before determining whether or not to prosecute Trump or the Trump Organization, James said. Trump and his associates have consistently denied the allegations of misconduct, dismissing the investigation as “another political witch hunt.” Last month, Engoron charged Trump with contempt after he allegedly failed to meet a March 31 deadline to deliver subpoenaed documents. Trump has repeatedly and unsuccessfully sought to overturn Engoron’s $10,000-a-day fines and appealed his decision for contempt. Engoron said a previous Trump affidavit regarding the subpoena was “completely devoid of any useful detail.”

To monitor

It remains to be seen whether Trump’s affidavit will convince Engoron that Trump has complied with the subpoenas to the best of his ability and is not being dismissive.

Further reading

“New York judge refuses to suspend Trump’s $10,000-a-day contempt fine” (Forbes)

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