A New York judge on Wednesday said he was "conditionally" purging a contempt order against former President Donald Trump as long as he turns over more information on documents being sought by the state attorney general's office by the end of next week.
In the meantime, Justice Arthur Engoron said he was pausing the $10,000-a-day contempt fine he hit Trump with last month — but that Trump still has to pay the $110,000 in fines accrued to date.
The judge had found Trump in civil contempt of court and ordered him to pay the daily fine until he turned over documents subpoenaed by New York State Attorney General Letitia James' office or submitted proof that he doesn't have the documents.
Trump lawyer Alina Habba submitted court filings on Friday detailing the efforts that had been made on Trump's behalf to find the documents and other information the attorney general's office had been seeking for its probe into the Trump Organization's business practices.
Habba said they'd conducted "a diligent, complete and comprehensive search for all documents and information requested by the Subpoena," including trying to find Trump's old cell phones.
Her filing said Trump doesn't know where the phones are, and he currently "only has two phones in his personal possession: (i) an iPhone; and (ii) a new phone he was recently given by TruthSocial which is used exclusively for posting on that site."
Habba added that she personally searched Trump's properties in New Jersey and Florida last week in an attempt to find the documents. "I diligently searched each and every room of respondent’s private residence located at Mar-a-Lago, including all desks, drawers, nightstands, dressers, closets, etc. I was unable to locate any documents responsive to the subpoena that have not already been produced to the OAG by the Trump Organization," he filing said.
She said she did a similar search of Trump's office in Florida, and another Trump attorney searched his office and residence at Trump Tower in New York City. Searches were also conducted of various file cabinets, the filing said.
The judge, who'd rebuffed an earlier plea from Trump's lawyers to halt the fine because their answers weren't detailed enough, credited the attorneys' progress.
He said he was halting the fines and would purge the contempt ruling if Trump's team accomplished three goals by May 20: provide a description of the Trump Organization's documentation retention and destruction policies; finish a review of five of 17 boxes in an off-site storage facility; and paid the $110,000 in fines Trump had accrued to date.
"Failure to satisfy any of the above conditions shall result in the contempt order being restored and the fine reinstated retroactively to Saturday May 7," the judge's decision said.
James, whose office had opposed Trump's request to lift the fine, said in a statement, “For years, Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization have tried to thwart our lawful investigation, but today’s decision makes clear that no one can evade accountability."