The Trump Organization was convicted of two counts of criminal contempt of court and fined $4,000 during a trial held in secret last fall, according to a newly unsealed court document and several people said to have knowledge of the proceedings.
The case heard almost a year before last week's tax fraud conviction.
According to a judicial order released Tuesday, a one-day contempt trial was held when the Manhattan district attorney's office requested the court punish the company for "willfully disobeying" three court orders and four grand jury subpoenas, reports The New York Times.
The names of the entities that were on trial are redacted on the order, dated Dec. 8, 2021. However, several sources with knowledge of the case confirmed that the names marked out were those of the Trump Organization corporations convicted of tax fraud last week. Judge Juan Merchan, presiding in both cases, unsealed the document concerning the secret trial after last week's jury ruling.
Merchan wrote in his order after the secret trial that "the record is clear that the company failed to produce responsive documents without explanation." His fine of $4,000 is the maximum under the law.
The contempt trial last October had been kept secret because it was related to the grand jury subpoenas issued in the case. The grand jury remained active after July 2021, when the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg were charged with crimes.
A spokesperson for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg declined to comment on the order, and a spokesperson for the Trump Organization didn't immediately respond to a request to comment, notes the Times.
Bragg's office, meanwhile, is continuing its investigation of former President Donald Trump, including on his payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and into claims that Trump's annual financial statements contained the potential overvaluation of assets.
According to the order released Tuesday, a company representative testified in January 2021 that the organization "successfully responded to countless subpoenas in the past." In 2020 and 2021, Trump and his attorneys received numerous subpoenas concerning Bragg's inquiry and a civil investigation of the former president's financial statements ordered by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
Since then, Weisselberg pleaded guilty to tax fraud, but the company ended up on trial this October, leading to convictions of 17 felonies against the Trump Corporation and the Trump Payroll Corp.
Meanwhile, Trump himself was held in contempt of court in April after James' office accused him of not fully complying with a subpoena and a $110,000 penalty was imposed.
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