Trump Organization Held In Contempt Of Court After Losing Secret Trial


A judge held the Trump Organization in contempt of court in 2021 after the organization lost a secret one-day trial over its refusal to comply with grand-jury subpoenas and court orders, according to The New York Times, which first reported on the trial.

A judicial order indicating the Trump Organization’s loss in the case was unsealed on Tuesday, with identifying information redacted. The New York Times confirmed that the order referred to the Trump Organization, and details within the order line up with the Trump Organization’s history of defying investigations into its conduct.

The judge, Juan Merchan, held the trial on October 7, 2021, after former President Donald Trump’s company failed to comply with four grand-jury subpoenas and three court orders and issued his ruling on December 8, 2021.

“Examining the record as a whole, there can be no doubt that [the Trump Organization’s] failures amount to willful disobedience,” Merchan wrote. “Despite clear warnings, the Company missed deadline after deadline, never moving to quash subpoenas and never seeking Court intervention. Some subpoenas went largely ignored, and another was ignored entirely.”

The Manhattan district attorney’s office brought criminal fraud charges against the company in July 2021. The company was found guilty at trial, which Merchan also oversaw, earlier this month.

The details Merchan included in his order line up with parallel litigation the New York attorney general’s office brought, which also led to contempt orders after the company fought subpoenas. In court filings, the attorney general’s office said the company blamed “email migrations” for delaying document production and testimony from executives. These same “email migrations” appear to come up repeatedly in Merchan’s December order.

“In this Court’s view, it is unacceptable that the [redacted] documents, which were purportedly identified and set aside by the Corporation’s IT department, were not forwarded to the eDiscovery vendor and simply sat idle for as much as four months,” Merchan wrote.

The company should have produced these documents earlier, Merchan said, despite the purported email issues.

“There is no question that many documents were in existence and within Respondent’s control and yet not produced,” Merchan wrote. “Not only does the record demonstrate this, but [redacted] has conceded this point on several occasions.”

The New York attorney general’s office filed a civil suit against Trump and his company earlier this year, alleging it broke numerous civil-fraud laws. The Manhattan district attorney’s investigation remains ongoing.