New York Attorney General Letitia James and Donald Trump
- A lawyer for NY AG Letitia James told a judge Monday “We would likely need to bring some kind of enforcement action [against Donald Trump’s business] in the near future.”
- James is asking a judge to fine Trump $10,000 a day for failing to turn over personal business documents.
- Trump has countered that he has nothing more to turn over; James already has 900,000 documents from his business.
New York Attorney General Letitia James may file “some kind of enforcement action” soon against Donald Trump and his business, a lawyer for her office revealed in a Manhattan courtroom Monday morning.
Given oncoming court and statute-of-limitation deadlines, “We would likely need to bring some kind of enforcement action in the near future,” Kevin Wallace, an attorney with the AG’s office, told state Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, as the two sides battled over what the AG describes as Trump’s failure to turn over personal business documents.
The statement by Wallace is the first indication that the AG’s three-year probe into Trump Organization is timing-out and wrapping up — and may be heading toward some kind of enforcement action.
Lawyers for James and Trump squared off Monday over her request that Trump be held in contempt — and fined $10,000 a day — for turning over only 10 personal business documents in response to her subpoenas of his business and the former president personally.
The judge may rule by end of day Monday.
The battle over subpoeanas has been a heated one, and Monday’s court session brought the latest exchanges, with Trump’s side accusing James of “a political crusade” and the AG’s side likening Trump’s production of documents to “pulling teeth.”
In court papers filed thoughout her probe, James has alleged that Trump has played loose with his numbers in describing the value of at least ten assets in his international real estate and branding company.
But James also alleges that for the past two years, getting subpoena-responsive documents from Trump and the Trump Organization has been a constant slog-fest.
“In some instances, it’s been pulling teeth to get documents,” as one of her lawyers, Kevin C. Wallace, said in court Monday.
“Mr. Trump is thumbing his nose at this court’s order,” from February, requiring him to turn over his documents, suggested another of James’ lawyers, Andrew Amer.
To date, only ten “custodial” Trump documents — or business files in the former president’s direct custody — have been turned over.
“Our patience is at an end, and so should be the court’s,” Amer told the judge in asking for the contempt finding and the steep fine.
Habba countered that the Trump Organization has turned over everything Trump has, and she decried the probe as an endless, vague, and ever-broadening “fishing expedition.”
“This is a political crusade,” she complained.
Habba said she flew recently to Trump in Mar-a-Lago. “I wanted to make sure there were no documents with him” there, she said. There were none that were responsive to the AG’s subpoena, she said.
The lack of additional personal documents may be attributed to Trump’s busy public life and aversion to computers, Habba implied.
“For five of the last 10 years he has been campaigning or has been president,” she said. “Donald Trump doesn’t email,” she said. “He does not text message, and he has no work computer at home or anywhere else.”
She added, “I know that’s really difficult for people to understand.” But while it may “create an appearance of non-compliance,” his business has turned over more than 6 million pages of documents, she said.
“Donald Trump does not believe he is above the law,” Habba told the judge, countering a repeated refrain James has made in press releases, that “no one is above the law.”
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