How the Mar-a-Lago Raid May Bolster the New York AG’s Lawsuit

·3-min read

It’s not that the FBI’s raid on Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club was critical to the New York Attorney General filing a $250 million lawsuit against the Trump Organization on Wednesday. But it may have helped.

That’s because, in a Trumpian twist of fate, the raid very well may bolster one part of New York AG Letitia James’ case against the former president: that he never fully turned over all the financial documents he was supposed to supply to her office.

Tucked deep in the 222-page lawsuit—on page 205, to be exact—is a section on how the raid may prove that Trump and his lawyers never produced all the financial documents they were supposed to turn over to New York investigators, even after Trump was held in contempt of court for not handing over all of his business records.

“Even after almost two years of litigation it appears that it may still be the case that not all responsive documents were produced,” the lawsuit reads. “Among other things, in litigation over a search warrant executed at Mar-a-Lago on August 8, 2022, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida noted that “the seized materials include . . . correspondence related to taxes, and accounting information.”

The lawsuit notes that documents “concerning taxes and accounting information would appear to be responsive to OAG’s subpoenas.”

While it’s unclear in the lawsuit if those documents were turned over in some other form—perhaps they are copies of the documents—the New York AG suggests they could be proof that Trump’s lawyers never fully complied with the subpoenas, despite one of his attorneys signing an affidavit that they had “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,” that affidavit says, according to the lawsuit.

Trump spent years stonewalling investigators over these financial records. A judge ultimately forced him to hire a third-party vendor to compile the documents. And even then, the vendor—HaystackID—had plenty of trouble finding all the documents that were responsive to the New York AG’s subpoenas.

Ultimately, Trump’s lawyers had to swear they searched for all the records and that there weren’t more they were choosing to withhold. It’s a familiar refrain from Trump’s lawyers, who took a similar oath when handing over classified documents. They said they searched high and low for presidential records that should’ve gone to the National Archives—only for the FBI to find boxes of classified information at Mar-a-Lago months later.

It’s unclear how much of an issue the New York AG will make of Trump’s potential obstruction. But it’s certainly one of the more curious details in the lawsuit.

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