Judge Purges Trump Contempt Charge After More Documents Are Submitted
After he was fined $110K and ordered to testify in a probe into his company's business practices, former President Donald Trump is no longer in contempt of court after producing additional documents, a New York judge ruled Wednesday.
New York Attorney General Letitia James' civil investigation into The Trump Organization has steadily moved forward in recent months after multiple rounds of appeals and back-and-forth legal exchanges over which documents the company is required to produce.
New York County Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron wrote in an order that Trump produced documents that satisfied the AG's request, and ruled that the $110K Trump paid as a fine would continue to be held in escrow until the final disposition of his appeal. Trump was found in contempt in April after Engoron ruled he hadn't sufficiently complied with a subpoena.
Trump and his three eldest children are all defendants in James' lawsuit that alleges the family business artificially inflated and deflated the value of its properties to lower tax bills and get better terms on loans.
Cushman & Wakefield is a respondent in the suit as well, as James' office has sought documents related to the appraisals the brokerage's valuation team performed on Trump's properties.
The AG has sought to review appraisals of similar buildings to the ones at issue in the case — including the 40 Wall St. skyscraper and the Seven Springs estate in Westchester County — which Cushman's attorneys have pushed back on forcefully, claiming every appraisal is fundamentally different from another and that disclosing other valuations would jeopardize its clients' privacy.
After Engoron ordered the firm to produce the requested documents the same week he found Trump in contempt, it appealed the ruling. The appeals court denied Cushman's appeal earlier this month, and last week Engoron gave the firm until June 27 to produce the requested documents.
While it is unclear whether Cushman has satisfied the AG's request for documents, another dramatic domino is set to fall in the case; after exhausting the appeal process, Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump have tentatively agreed to start testifying in the case starting no later than July 15.