Trump tries to avoid contempt charge in New York investigation

    Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at The Farm at 95 on April 9, 2022 in Selma, North Carolina.  Trump's lawyers in New York and elsewhere are trying to help him fight multiple investigations.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at The Farm at 95 on April 9, 2022 in Selma, North Carolina. Trump’s lawyers in New York and elsewhere are trying to help him fight multiple investigations.
Photo: Allison Joyce (Getty Images)

Lawyers for the former president donald trump attempt to help him avoid a possible contempt decision in New York Attorney General Letitia Jamesongoing civil investigation into his business.

Defense attorneys filed documents yesterday saying the former Republican president has none of the documents subject to a subpoena from James’ office, according to CBS News. Earlier this month, James asked a judge to despise Trump, fining him $10,000 a day for every day that Trump did not produce documents that he had already been ordered to go to his office.

James is investigating whether Trump, the Trump Organization or its leaders, including his children Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., committed fraud by misrepresenting company financial data on loan applications, tax forms and other documents. James’ has previously said he has already gathered evidence to that effect. But Trump’s lawyers argue that James is barking at the wrong tree.

From CBS News

Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, said in a filing late Tuesday night that Trump’s team attempted to comply with the subpoena, but determined he was not in possession of any of the documents requested by the Attorney General. Habba wrote that she informed the attorney general’s office that Trump’s namesake company may have the documents sought, including personal financial statements, tax audit documents and insurance-related documents.

Trump and his lawyers are battling prosecutors in New York and Georgia over civil and criminal allegations regarding his actions in office and his business.

In December, Trump sued James in federal court in an attempt to stop his investigation, but he lost that fight. In February, a New York state judge ruled that James could question the Trumps under oath about their activities, ending another attempt by the former president to avoid impeachment. The Trumps have appealed this decision.

James’ investigation focuses strictly on Trump’s activities and is civil in nature, meaning she could seek a fine for him or his company, but could not pursue criminal penalties. She could refer any evidence of potential crimes to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg Jr..

Bragg’s office is conducting its own controversial criminal investigation into Trump’s business. Bragg said earlier this month that his investigation is still ongoing after the resignation in March of his two main prosecutors on the case. The subsequent public disclosure of a scathing resignation letter by one, who was critical of Bragg’s handling of the effort, left the status of the matter in question.

Meanwhile, in Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis is is still conducting a criminal investigation to find out whether Trump broke the law by trying to pressure Georgia’s secretary of state to “find” enough votes to swing the 2020 election in his favor.

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