Trump Accused of Zapping Email Evidence in 2004 Suit
And his company's apparent email archiving process from '96-'01: delete them
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 14, 2016 12:17 PM CDT
Updated Jun 14, 2016 3:01 PM CDT
Donald Trump speaks at Saint Anselm College Monday in Manchester, NH.   (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

(Newser) – It may have just become more difficult for Donald Trump to harp on Hillary Clinton's email woes. The Trump Organization apparently had an appetite for destruction when it came to its own emails, per a 2004 lawsuit in which his casino company was embroiled, reports USA Today. In the suit, Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts sought profits from a casino developed by ex-employee Richard Fields and Florida's Seminole Tribe, a deal Trump's company claimed it had been pursuing while Fields still worked there. The defendants rebutted that if Trump had really been in negotiations with the tribe, there would be emails to back it up. The judge agreed and told Trump's company to hand it all over. Which is when it got weird: Trump company's lawyer said in a 2006 hearing that the company used to erase emails and had zero remaining from 1996 to 2001.

"Every year everything was just wiped out and deleted from pretty much everybody's computers," the company's general counsel testified. The lawyer also said Trump didn't use email himself, and a Trump IT director testified that company executives used dial-up Internet until 2001. It seemed especially odd that this was the case, USA Today notes, since Trump had launched a "blazing-fast" Internet provider in 1998 and boasted he'd wire Trump Tower with it. The defendants in the case balked, claiming Trump's company kept "destroying data and evidence" even after the case had been filed. And Jerry Streitfeld, the now-retired judge of that case, tells USA Today: "I was a bit incredulous that an organization of that significance doesn't do email." The case was eventually settled—before it could be determined whether Trump's company had tampered with evidence.