The Washington Examiner reports that the judge in the Mar-a-Lago documents case has decided not to hold former President Donald Trump in contempt of court.
It’s quite a surprise considering that the judge is Beryl Howell — an appointee of former President Barack Obama.
A report from CNN was published this past week indicating that President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) was pursuing contempt of court charges against Trump.
This is part of the ongoing documents dispute between the DOJ and Trump – the dispute that saw the unprecedented FBI raid of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. The DOJ maintains that Trump illegally took confidential documents from his administration and improperly stored them at his properties – claims that Trump disputes.
The DOJ requested that Trump be held in contempt of court for failing to comply with a subpoena that required Trump and his team to locate and hand over confidential documents.
According to CNN’s report, Trump has insisted that he complied with the subpoena:
. . . Trump’s legal team said it conducted searches at four locations just before Thanksgiving, finding two documents with classified markings at a storage facility in Florida. The Trump team turned over those two documents to the FBI and announced to a federal judge in Washington, DC, that they believed Trump was now in compliance with a 6-month-old subpoena.
The DOJ, however, disputes this, although we don’t know why.
Part of the reason for the lack of information here stems from the fact that this particular part of the case is taking place in private – it is sealed. So, we still do not know the specifics.
But, what we do know is that the contempt hearing was held on Friday, and Judge Howell decided not to grant the DOJ’s contempt request.
ABC News reports that Howell “urged the Justice Department and Trump’s legal team to resolve the dispute themselves.” ABC says that it received this information from “sources.”
If Trump were to have been held in contempt of court, it was expected that he would have been forced to pay a fine. But, it appears that, at least for now, Trump is safe.
It is a rare win for Trump, albeit a small one.
Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung has put out a statement on the matter.
The President and his counsel will continue to be transparent and cooperative, even in the face of the highly weaponized and corrupt witch-hunt from the Department of “Justice.”