Donald Trump now owes NY AG Letitia James $100,000. A woman who fell down a collapsed South Bronx stairwell in 1984 holds the key to sanity.

Former President Donald Trump smiles while speaking at a rally in Selma, North Carolina on April 9, 2022, left.  A stack of $100 bills, right.

Former President Donald Trump smiles while speaking at a rally in Selma, North Carolina on April 9, 2022, left. The accumulated Benjamins that Trump owes to NY AG Letitia James, right.Chris Seward/AP, left. LM Otero/AP, right.

  • The $10,000 contempt of court fine Donald Trump owes NY AG Letitia James reached $100,000 on Thursday.

  • The fines will continue to increase until Trump signs what is called a “Jackson affidavit.”

  • The affidavit bears the name of Christophena Jackson, who fell down a South Bronx stairwell in 1984.

On Thursday, the $10,000-a-day contempt fine that former President Donald Trump owes New York Attorney General Letitia James hit the $100,000 mark.

The fine is Trump’s sanction for non-compliance with the AG’s subpoena for his personal business papers – and it will continue to mount every day, accumulating even on weekends, until he gives a Manhattan judge something called ” Jackson affidavit”.

What is a Jackson Affidavit? And why is it so long? And who was this Jackson, anyway?

In requiring Trump to swear an affidavit of Jackson, New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron ordered the former president to sign a first-person, sworn explanation detailing why his search for the personal business documents that James wanted was completely blank. .

“I want to know who made these searches,” the judge said, explaining why a simple one-page affidavit Trump handed over last week was woefully inadequate. “When did they look? What were they looking for?

Jackson’s very first affidavit

The story of Jackson’s affidavit — so critical to what happens next in the AG’s investigation into Trump’s affairs — goes back nearly 40 years.

It’s a story that began when a woman named Christophena Jackson was nearly swallowed alive by the crumbling staircase of her apartment building in the South Bronx.

It was around 3:30 p.m. on October 11, 1984. Jackson, 64, was walking down the stairwell of his New York-owned apartment building at 970 Prospect Avenue.

Somewhere between the second and third floors, one of the marble steps gave way when she stepped on it.

“When I stepped on one of the steps of the staircase, it collapsed,” she said in a deposition. “And I fell into the hole where the step was before it collapsed.

“I grabbed the window to keep myself from going all the way to the second floor.”

It turns out that the whole building was in such bad shape that it was quickly condemned and emptied by the city of all its tenants.

No recording, little explanation

Jackson was also in poor condition, with permanent injuries to his back, neck, arm and leg, his attorneys said.

But when she sued the city for $500,000 in 1987, three years after her downfall, city attorneys did everything the AG now accuses Trump of doing.

They delayed. Depositions from city employees who may know the location of important maintenance and inspection records have been deferred by the city a dozen times, according to the filing.

They deviated. The city counterattacked a contractor, claiming he was the one who maintained the building and held the records. In fact, the contractor only took care of the payroll of the maintenance workers of the building, and not of their files, a red herring that cost years of lawsuits.

And when the city absolutely had to explain why it had no maintenance and inspection records to turn over to Jackson’s attorney, it submitted a similar, tersely worded affidavit of just three paragraphs. (Read the original “Jackson Affidavit” here.)

Faced with no case and little explanation, Jackson’s lawyers took the case to the appeals court that sits in Manhattan – the same courthouse that is currently handling Trump’s appeal against his order. of contempt.

The court ruled that the city should be punished for failing to say “where the records in question were likely to be kept, what efforts, if any, were made to preserve them, whether these records were regularly destroyed or whether a search was made of all the places where the documents were likely to be found.”

Read Jackson v. New York City’s 1992 appeal decision here.

The court-ordered penalty was: If the case went to trial, jurors would be instructed to assume that the city knew about the dilapidated stairs and did nothing to fix them, according to the ruling. The city would be prevented from countering this.

Not surprisingly, the city settled the case shortly after the appeal decision, for an undisclosed sum.

And since 1992, the ruling has become New York case law, cited dozens of times in motions and rulings when individuals and businesses fail to produce subpoenas.

What’s next for Trump

Trump has a few more chances for the GA fines to stop.

The Manhattan judge who scorned Trump and set the fine — New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron — hinted he might end the daily sentence at some point, without Jackson’s affidavit, however he told Trump’s lawyer on Friday“if you don’t hear from me, it’s still in effect.”

Trump can also hope that a panel of appellate judges in Manhattan will freeze the fine while he appeals the contempt order; so far the only appellate judge to consider the issue refused to do so in a judgment delivered on Tuesday.

But Trump’s best chance of stopping the fine remains to file an affidavit from Jackson, named after the injured woman in the South Bronx.

Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, did not respond when asked by email how the affidavit arrived. So why Trump would rather keep paying $10,000 a day than swear one remains a mystery.

“Maybe he just doesn’t want to and doesn’t feel obligated to do it,” said Marc Frazier Scholl, a former senior investigative attorney with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office who followed the GA case.

As for the increasing fine, “it’s clearly not meaningful to him,” said Scholl, a white-collar crime expert who now works for Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss in Manhattan.

“Because it didn’t happen,” Scholl continued. “It’s an account. It doesn’t exist. It’s an incomplete bond that, at this point, no one is collecting.”

Read the original article at Business Intern

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