Judge Arthur Engoron asks the Trump Organization to stop delaying the release of evidence


After more than two years of the Trump Organization refusing to fully turn over evidence of alleged financial fraud to the New York State Attorney General, a court-appointed auditor will now be required to provide detailed reports on the remaining amount.

On Monday, Judge Arthur F. Engoron ordered a digital forensics firm that already helps the Trump Organization identify evidence to be much more explicit in its progress reports, so that, in the coming weeks, investigators can finally determine whether to formally prosecute the former president’s firm for bank and insurance fraud.

“I don’t just want a little more meat. I want specific information about this research. I want detailed reports. We’re putting an end to this whole investigation. We want this to end at some point for many reasons,” Engoron told lawyers on both sides.

New York AG Letitia James and her investigators have been locked in a fierce legal battle with the Trump Organization. Former President Donald Trump’s son Eric refused to testify until the judge intervened, only to have the executive plead the Fifth nearly 500 times. The company refused to hand over most of the cases until last September, when the judge again intervened to force compliance.

When Trump and his two other adult children, Don Jr. and Ivanka, refused to appear for depositions in January, the judge again stepped in to order them to sit down and answer questions. (This latest decision is now on appeal.)

The problem now is that HaystackID, the third-party company the Trump Organization had to hire to help it sort through the cases, is supposed to be a neutral actor identifying how close investigators are to getting what they’ve always needed. . But these reports were not helpful.

When the judge asked to hear directly from HaystackID’s lead forensic officer, John Wilson, the judge’s clerk expressed disappointment.

“I took a look at the reports you provided and they seemed very sketchy. The reports you gave don’t offer a lot of information, quite frankly,” said the judge’s main legal assistant, Allison R. Greenfield.

For example, Haystack auditors are still trying to track down a cell phone that belonged to Trump Organization attorney Alan Garten. And it’s still unclear if several other company employees have devices that investigators will want to get their hands on.

After taking a short break, the judge ordered the auditor to begin writing detailed weekly reports and conclude this search for evidence at the end of April. He was motivated by the fear that if this drags on, this whole investigation will be for naught.

The clock is turning.

Given that so many of the Trump Organization’s financial shenanigans date back six or more years — potentially making them too old to prosecute — the AG’s office managed to freeze time on the New York statute of limitations. by entering into a “toll agreement” with the Trump Organization. But that signed deal expires at the end of April, so investigators want to hunt down all the evidence well before then.

“The days, the months, are starting to add up and become meaningful,” Assistant Attorney General Austin Thompson said in court, citing what he called “extreme circumstances” caused entirely by the company of the l ‘former president.

The AG investigation looks increasingly like the last chance for New York law enforcement to hold the former president and his company accountable, given that the New York District Attorney’s parallel criminal investigation Manhattan seems to be running out of steam.

Lawyers for the Trump Organization in court Monday, Amy Carlin and Larry Rosen, argued that the judge was unreasonably adding more work and cost to the company.

“We want to get this over with. Their investigation continues to grow and expand. The tentacles are everywhere,” Rosen said.

In court, Rosen pointed out that the company was struggling to keep up with the numerous investigations and acknowledged the existence of an investigation by Westchester District Attorney Mimi Rocah who is looking into the finances of the 18-hole golf course. of Trump in the suburbs just north of New York. York.

“There are only a limited number of internal resources available to the organization,” Rosen said.

“Yes, it would cost more,” conceded the judge with a shrug.

Sources told The Daily Beast that Trump privately lamented the inflated costs of handling multiple investigations in Georgia, Manhattan, Washington, and elsewhere – and complained that his enemies “will pursue me for the rest of my life”.

Asawin Suebsaeng contributed to this story.


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