A judge had ordered Trump to pay $10,000 a day for failing to produce documents related to tax case.
A New York judge said Wednesday he is close to releasing former US President Donald Trump from a contempt finding, but only if the former president meets certain conditions, including paying $110,000 in fines accrued for failing to turn over documents in a state civil investigation.
Judge Arthur Engoron said he will conditionally lift Trump’s contempt finding if, by May 20, Trump submits additional affidavits detailing efforts to search for records and explaining his and his company’s document retention policies, a company he hired to aid the search completes its work and he pays the fines.
The contempt order could be restored if those conditions are not met, Engoron said.
Engoron told a virtual hearing that a $10,000-per-day fine he imposed on Trump in late April stopped accruing on Friday, when Trump and his lawyers filed new affidavits detailing steps they took to find documents relevant to New York State Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation.
Trump has said he does not have any relevant files, a claim Engoron said last month he found surprising.
James has said her probe has turned up evidence that the Trump Organization – which manages hotels, golf courses and other real estate properties around the world – has given banks and tax authorities misleading financing information to obtain financial benefits such as favourable loans and tax breaks.
A Republican, Trump denies wrongdoing and calls the investigation politically motivated. James is a Democrat.
Trump lawyer Alina Habba said in the May 6 filing that the responses to the subpoena were complete and correct and that no relevant documents or information were withheld.
Habba conducted searches of Trump’s offices and private quarters at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, and his residence in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, according to the filing, but did not find any relevant documents that had not already been produced. The filing also detailed searches of other locations including file cabinets and storage areas at the Trump Organization’s offices in New York.
In a separate sworn affidavit included with the filing, Trump stated there are not any relevant documents that have not already been produced.
He added that he owns two mobile phones: an iPhone for personal use that he submitted in March to be searched as part of the subpoena, then submitted again in May; plus a second phone he was recently given that’s only used to post on Truth Social, the social media network he started after his ban from Twitter, Facebook and other platforms.
Also Wednesday, a state appellate court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in Trump’s appeal in another subpoena matter: Engoron’s February 17 ruling requiring him to answer questions under oath in James’s investigation.