New York Attorney General Letitia James says contempt order needed because of "Trump's intransigence"
New York Attorney General Letitia James urged a judge Friday to "coerce" former President Donald Trump into complying with a subpoena demanding searches of three of his mobile devices and multiple document storage sites.
Trump failed to meet a court-ordered March 31 deadline to turn over subpoenaed material, claiming he had none of the documents demanded by James' office as part of its investigation into his company's financial practices. A week later, James asked the judge overseeing her office's investigation to issue a contempt citation and fine Trump $10,000 per day until he complied with the subpoena.
"The Court should put an end to Mr. Trump's intransigence and subterfuge," attorneys working for James wrote in the Friday evening filing.
Trump attorney Alina Habba said in a filing Tuesday that Trump's eponymous company may have the documents being sought, but Trump himself does not.
The attorney general said Friday that Trump cannot "pass off" responsibility for complying with the subpoena to his company.
Investigators have identified, but not received subpoenaed data from, three mobile devices belonging to Trump, two of which are personal and one of which is a company-issued phone, according to the filing. They are also waiting for documents from specific Trump Organization locations, such as "the files located in cabinets outside Mr. Trump's office," "the storage room by Mr. Trump's office," "the Executive Office storage closet" and "the file cabinets located on the 25th and 26th floors."
Trump and two of his children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, were ordered on February 17 to appear for depositions in James' long-running civil fraud probe. They appealed the order to appear, but did not challenge a separate part of that ruling in which Trump was ordered to comply with a subpoena "seeking documents and information."
The judge ordered Trump to comply with the demand for documents and information by March 3, and later extended that deadline to March 31 — a date that was agreed to by both sides at the time, according to a court documents.
James' office claimed in a February press release that its wide-ranging investigation has collected evidence "showing that Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization used fraudulent and misleading financial statements to obtain economic benefit." The initial focus of the probe was on whether the Trump Organization inflated the valuations of assets while seeking loans and insurance coverage, and deflated their value to reduce tax liability.
Trump and his company have repeatedly denied all allegations of wrongdoing. An attorney for Trump did not immediately return a request for comment. In Tuesday's filing, Habba said the contempt request was "utterly bereft of merit."
A hearing on the contempt motion is scheduled for Monday.
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