Donald Trump tells court he can’t find his phones
Former President Trump seems to have misplaced his smartphones he had before moving to the White House along with other devices from the family business.
Since leaving the White House, former President Donald Trump has seen the number of court cases against him multiply. Some of his legal headaches stem from his scandal-plagued single four-year term in office, that ended with him trying to illegally over turn the election and inciting a mob to storm Capitol Hill.
Others come from his time before his stint in the White House associated with shady business dealings where his company ran roughshod with the valuations of its assets to lower tax liability or get better deals with banks and insurance companies. His foot-dragging with turning over evidence in one led the judge overseeing the case to impose a $10,000-a-day fine until the requested material was handed over.
Trump order to pay $110,000 in fines, more could come
After finding that Trump had failed to comply with a subpoena issued by New York Attorney General Letitia James, New York State Judge Arthur Engoron issued an order holding him in contempt of court. The judicial order levied a $10,000-a-day fine on the former president until he complied which had been in place for two weeks until Wednesday.
Although Justice Engoron withdrew the contempt order, Trump is not out of the woods and is on the hook for $110,000 in fines accumulated so far as reported in the New York Times. The real estate mogul and his legal team have until 20 May to meet the conditions set, or the contempt order will be reinstated and the $10,000-a-day fine applied retroactively.
As part of the subpoena, which was issued in December, Trump was required to turn over documents and personal files the AG alleges will show the Trump Organization had engaged in “fraudulent or misleading” business practices. Some of those documents are believed to be located on electronic devices, including computers and cellular phones Trump used in his private life. However, neither Trump nor his attorneys or a third party investigator, hired by the Trump Organization, can find them.
Where are Trump’s smartphones?
Justice Engoron at the end of April kept in place the contempt order after he found it incredulous that as he described him “the most famous real estate developer in the world,” didn’t have any documents related to the Trump Organization. The order required Trump to submit an affidavit swearing to the location of the documents and who had access to them. Additionally, he had to state whether his personal electronic devices had been surrendered to be searched and imaged.
In a court filing last week, the former president swore that he was no longer in possession of the cellular phones that he had been issued by the Trump Organization. “Since January 1, 2010, I previously owned two flip phones and a Samsung mobile phone. I do not have the two flips phones in my possession and I do not know their current whereabouts. I took the Samsung with me to the White House and it was taken from me at some point while I was President,” his affidavit read.
“I do not have the Samsung in my possession, and I do not know its current whereabouts.” Trump added that he currently has two cellular phones, one, an iPhone, for personal use and another provided to him by his lackluster social media platform Truth Social. He detailed that he had provided investigators with access to his personal iPhone twice, most recently in May.
As for the other electronic devices his lawyer Alina Habba attested that she “diligently searched each and every room” of his offices and private quarters at his seasonal residences at Mar-a-Lago and National Golf Club Bedminster. She also coordinated via phone a search of his condo and offices in Trump Tower with the company’s attorney Alan Garten.
In all of their searches they came up empty handed and the searches “did not identify any documents responsive to the Subpoena.” There was an agreement that Haystack ID, the outside company hired to track down the missing files, would conduct another sweep.
Why did the judge lift the contempt order on Trump?
Justice Engoron temporarily lifted the contempt order after Trumps lawyers filed requested detailed court documents that attested a thorough search of Trump’s records had been conducted. Likewise, Haystack ID, was ordered to detail the steps they took to do the job they were hired to do. Their court filing to the judge assured that they had inspected a vast number of files both at the company’s Midtown Manhattan offices and off-site storage facilities.