Former President Donald Trump said he no longer has four cell phones identified by the New York attorney general’s investigation into the Trump Organization’s finances but has turned over his personal phone to be searched as he tries to convince a state judge to lift a civil contempt ruling that so far has cost him $140,000.
In an affidavit filed with the court Friday, Trump said he doesn’t currently have any phones, computers or electronic devices issued to him by the Trump Organization and that he has authorized his attorneys to search his homes in Bedminster, New Jersey, his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, and his personal residence in Trump Tower for any documents sought by New York Attorney General Letitia James’ subpoena.
Trump’s filing is his latest effort to try to end a $10,000 per day penalty that has accrued to $140,000. Judge Arthur Engoron previously rebuffed an earlier affidavit from Trump, saying it was “completely devoid of any useful detail.” Trump also has appealed the contempt ruling.
In the new filing, Trump said he no longer has a phone given to him by the Trump Organization in 2015, two flip phones, or a Samsung phone he brought with him to the White House that was “taken from me at some point while I was President.”
Trump said he currently has two cell phones, an iPhone he uses for personal matters and another phone he just received from Truth Social, the social media company, that he said he uses exclusively to post content on its website.
“I previously submitted my iPhone to be searched and imaged on March 21, 2022. In an abundance of caution, and in accordance with the Order, I recently resubmitted my cell phone to be searched and imaged again in early May 2022,” Trump wrote.
Trump also said that since 2010, he does not use email, text messages, or a computer for work. He also said he does not keep documents, files or papers relating to his business at his personal homes.
Alina Habba, an attorney for Trump, said she personally searched every nightstand, desk and closet at Trump’s properties and found no documents sought by the December 2021 subpoena.
Attorney general wants 17 boxes searched
The New York attorney general’s office said Monday that Trump should not be cleared of civil contempt until a third-party firm finishes its review of 17 boxes located in an off-site storage facility.
Lawyers for the attorney general said the third-party company, HaystackID, said it would complete that review by Friday.
“Because Respondent relies on HaystackID’s review to satisfy his obligations under the subpoena, he cannot purge the contempt finding until that review is complete and HaystackID provides a final report along with the production of any responsive documents,” the attorneys wrote.
The attorneys also said that Trump or his executive assistants need to explain the Trump Organization’s document and electronic device retention and destruction policies.
“As it appears Mr. Trump relied on the Trump Organization and his executive assistants to preserve his documents, he should be required to describe what policies they followed, especially given that testimony provided during OAG’s investigation indicates that the Trump Organization has had in place since at least 2016 a ‘litigation hold’ on the categories of material covered by the subpoena and its IT Department follows a policy of preservation.”
This story has been updated with additional developments.