- A Manhattan judge wants to know what happened to the Post-it Notes Donald Trump used to give orders on at the Trump Organization.
- A Trump lawyer suggested on Wednesday that they were filed ‘in the round receptacle,’ meaning they’ve been trashed.
- The judge and lawyer waved their own sticky notes at each other in a comical exchange during a video hearing.
Post-it Notes that Donald Trump used to relay his orders at the Trump Organization are probably in the trash, a lawyer for the former president suggested during a virtual hearing on Wednesday.
Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, suggested the Post-its were filed “in the round receptacle,” as she and lawyers for New York Attorney General Letitia James battled over personal business records James wants for her ongoing probe of the Trump Organization.
New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron breached the sticky subject of Post-its mid-way into the hearing, before ruling that the former president must cut a $110,000 check to the AG’s office as a contempt-of-court penalty.
“We’ve heard from an executive vice president or something that Mr. Trump would communicate through Post-its,” Engoron said, referring to Alan Garten, the Trump Organization’s top company lawyer.
Garten testified before the AG under subpoena last summer that Trump had “received and maintained hard copy documents, and that he used Post-it Notes to communicate with employees,” according to an AG filing from January.
Engoron asked Andrew Amer, a lawyer for the AG’s office who was on the video hearing, if any documents obtained by his office had Post-its attached to them.
“To my knowledge, we haven’t seen any documents that have Post-its on them,” Amer answered. “That’s one of the odd things about the [document] production to date.”
Amer said that if Post-its were a means Trump used to communicate, James would be entitled to those.
“And quite frankly we’re still waiting,” he said.
Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, said, however, that any documents with Post-its on them would have already been turned over, so the court and the AG shouldn’t expect to see any new ones.
“If there were Post-its on any documents that were there, they were produced with the Post-its on them,” she said, adding that she has personally checked the files at Trump Tower, where the former president’s real estate company is headquartered.
At this point in the virtual hearing, the judge began jokingly waving a pale yellow “sticky” at the camera. Habba responded in kind, though hers was neon yellow.
Habba then made the argument that Post-its are meant to be transitory.
“As you and Miss Greenfield are speaking,” Habba told the judge, referring to Engoron’s law clerk, Allison Greenfield. “You may hand her a note. And she would probably throw it away. And that’s not going to be retained in the court’s files.”
Any Post-its that were on any Trump documents “were scanned as they are,” she added.
The AG’s lawyer then asked that Trump’s personal assistants swear a new affidavit describing “what the retention and destruction policies were … with respect to Post-its.”
Habba pushed back.
“I don’t think any company or person has a formal practice in regard to Post-its,” she said. “The fact that’s even being asked by Mr. Amer — I mean, I don’t have a formal policy on Post-its, do you?”
She added, “I write notes to my assistants, I write notes to [law partner Michael] Madeio, and I can assure you these are not going anywhere but in the round receptacle.”
“So then that was your practice?” the AG’s lawyer cut in. “The practice was either to keep them or to not keep them and somebody should know.”
The judge ordered Trump’s side to produce a sworn statement from a Trump assistant saying what happened to any sticky notes — jokingly calling it “a Post-it affidavit.”