The tangled judicial battle of Donald Trump as a result of his pending cases in New York has taken a new turn this Wednesday. The former president must pay a fine of $110,000 to the New York State Attorney’s Office and satisfy other documentation requirements to avoid a contempt charge for failing to appear before the prosecutor, Letitia James, in the framework of a civil investigation. about alleged irregularities in his emporium.
Judge Arthur Engoron, who announced the amount of the fine on Wednesday, imposed a sanction of $10,000 a day on the former Republican president at the end of April for his failure to appear. In a virtual hearing held today, Engoron explained that the payment accountant stopped last Friday, when the tycoon and his lawyers presented new affidavits about the relevant documents that James had requested for the case.
Trump reiterated, as he did in April, that he does not own any relevant files, something that Engoron called surprising, given the size of his emporium and the volume of its business. The judge has given Trump until May 20 to meet additional requirements, including the presentation of sworn statements from his personal assistant and other members of his team, as well as a report, commissioned from third parties, on the accounts of the Trump Organization, the name of the family emporium.
The contempt charge could be revived if Trump, currently the handyman in the Republican primary race, doesn’t come forward with all that information on time.
Prosecutor James, with whom Trump maintains a tug of war not only judicially, but also politically -she has repeatedly denounced being the object of an ideological witch hunt by the Democratic prosecutor-, maintains that the investigation has found evidence that the The Trump Organization, a conglomerate that owns hotels, golf courses and other real estate around the world, provided misleading information to banks and the Treasury to obtain advantages and benefits in granting loans and obtaining tax exemptions.
Although at the moment neither the former president nor his children, also investigated, have been charged, these allegedly fraudulent practices cost the position of the financial director of the emporium, and Trump’s right-hand man for decades, who surrendered to justice last spring and that many consider a scapegoat or firewall to protect the hard core of the Trump family. In January, prosecutor James called Ivanka and Donald Jr, the oldest children of the former president, to testify. A few weeks earlier, at the end of December, the former president tried to stop the cause with a lawsuit against James.
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Far from being resolved, the process continues with advances and setbacks. Among the first, the withdrawal of support from the audit magnate stands out, who for decades evaluated her business, ensuring that the accounts of the last ten years are not reliable. In the chapter on setbacks -or small respites for the Republican- there is the resignation of two investigators who were instructing a second case, of a criminal nature, in parallel to the civil case of James, on alleged irregularities of the emporium. The abandonment of the two lawyers occurred after the new Manhattan prosecutor, in charge of that criminal investigation, expressed doubts about the relevance of continuing with the case.
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