Judge Rejects Trump Affidavit Reiterating NY AG Has All Documents Requested

Former President Donald Trump sought to end his $10,000 per day fine Friday in an affidavit reiterating that he is not personally in possession of any documents subpoenaed by the New York Attorney General's Office, but a judge denied Trump's request to end the fine and purge a contempt finding he was dealt earlier this week.

Trump received a major blow on Monday when a New York Supreme Court judge ruled to hold him in contempt of court for failing to comply with a subpoena from New York Attorney General Letitia James in her investigation into his business practices. The judge ordered him to pay $10,000 in fines for every day he continued to fail to comply with the subpoena, starting on Tuesday.

Trump has appealed that decision, and in the Friday affidavit, the former president stated that he believes any remaining documents subject to the subpoena are in the possession of the Trump Organization, not in his personal possession. His lawyer, Alina Habba, filed an affidavit detailing search efforts to find the documents.

In a response letter to the judge, James' office said that while the affidavits "provide some additional information" on Trump's efforts to comply with the subpoena, "they are insufficient to purge the finding of contempt."

In a virtual conference on Friday, New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron rejected Trump's bid to purge the contempt finding, according to court documents.

Trump Files Affidavit in NY Probe
Former President Donald Trump sought to end his $10,000 per day fine Friday in an affidavit reiterating that he is not personally in possession of any documents subpoenaed by the New York Attorney General's Office. Above, Trump speaks during a rally at the Delaware County Fairgrounds on April 23 in Delaware, Ohio. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

"Mr. Trump's personal affidavit is completely devoid of any useful detail. Notably, it fails to state where he kept his files, how his files were stored in the regular course of business, who had access to such files, what, if any, the retention policy was for such files, and, importantly, where he believes such files are currently located," Engoron wrote.

In a statement shared with Newsweek, Habba said that the events on Friday "have made it overwhelmingly clear that this case no longer has anything to do with the proper application of legal principles governing discovery disclosure."

"The Court completely disregarded the detailed affidavits that demonstrate the meticulous efforts undertaken to effectuate this search. This Court has improperly held my client in contempt for a violation that he did not commit solely because the OAG declared it 'insufficient' without any basis," she said in the statement.

"The tactics employed by this Court, including the dramatic pounding of the gavel, the statements directed to our client from the bench, and direct comments to the press have reduced this hearing to the likes of a public spectacle. We will zealously prosecute our appeal of the Court's improper application of both law and fact," she added.

Trump has decried James' investigation as politically motivated. He and Habba have said that he has handed over all the documents in his possession that were subject to the subpoena and that any further documents were in the possession of the Trump Organization.

After the judge issued his ruling Monday, Habba said in an earlier statement to Newsweek that they "respectfully disagree with the court's decision."

"All documents responsive to the subpoena were produced to the attorney general months ago. The only issue raised by the attorney general at today's hearing was with an affidavit submitted which copied the form mandated by the attorney general. This does not even come close to meeting the standard on a motion for contempt and, thus, we intend to appeal," the statement read.

James' office, meanwhile, applauded the decision. Her office filed the motion to hold Trump in contempt earlier this month.

"Today, justice prevailed," James said in a statement on Monday. "For years, Donald Trump has tried to evade the law and stop our lawful investigation into him and his company's financial dealings. Today's ruling makes clear: No one is above the law."

Newsweek reached out to James' office for further comment.