Judge lifts Trump’s contempt order in New York civil probe

Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower in Manhattan on August 15, 2021 in New York City.

James Devaney | GC Images | Getty Images

A New York judge on Wednesday lifted a contempt-of-court order against former President Donald Trump that was imposed after he failed to comply with a subpoena as part of a state investigation into his business.

New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron said in a court filing that he lifted the contempt order after reviewing “recent additional submissions” from Trump’s legal team.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, whose office is conducting the civil probe into the Trump Organization, agreed that the newly submitted documents were sufficient to lift the order, the judge wrote.

“It is hereby ordered that the contempt of respondent Donald J. Trump is purged,” Engoron wrote.

As for the $110,000 fine that Trump paid as part of his contempt conditions, Engoron ordered the money to remain in the attorney general’s escrow account pending the outcome of an appeal.

A spokesperson for James’ office declined CNBC’s request for comment.

Alina Habba, an attorney for Trump, said in a statement to CNBC: “Although we are pleased that the court has lifted the contempt finding, we maintain that it was wholly unwarranted and improper in the first place. We will push ahead with our appeal to secure justice for our client.”

James is investigating allegations that the Trump Organization improperly reported the stated valuations of some of its real estate assets for financial gain.

Engoron’s order Wednesday afternoon came more than two months after he held Trump in contempt of court for failing to hand over documents pursuant to a subpoena from James’ office.

The attorney general accused Trump of “trying to evade” the court’s order for him to fully comply with the probe. Trump and his lawyers had submitted sworn affidavits to Engoron, arguing that they did not possess any additional documents to turn over, but the judge found them “insufficient.”

As part of the contempt order, Trump was required to pay a $10,000 fine every day until he was found to be in compliance with the court.

Days after the judge’s order, Trump appealed the contempt finding and asked the appellate court to stay Engoron’s order while the process played out. The appeals division rejected that request.