A court hearing in Anna Sorokin’s lawsuit against her ex-lawyer was thrown into chaos Friday after the sobbing former jurist slumped to the floor saying she couldn’t breathe, and an ambulance was called.
A polished-looking Sorokin — aka Anna Delvey, the subject of Netflix’s “Inventing Anna” — was in court seeking to hold her former lawyer Audrey Thomas in contempt, and have her fined $1,000 a day for allegedly withholding court records that Sorokin needed to fight her conviction and deportation cases.
Thomas broke down in tears and collapsed onto the courtroom floor, crying out: “I can’t do this! I’m going to fall apart! Help me! Please!”
“My heart is hurting me! I need an ambulance!” she sobbed. “Please, please! I can’t breathe!”
The hearing was halted and an ambulance called for Thomas — who was wheeled out of the courtroom on a stretcher before the hearing resumed.
The dramatic episode came after Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron denied a request to postpone the contempt hearing because Thomas’ lawyer said he couldn’t come to court because of a broken ankle.
Thomas — who was disbarred last year for allegedly stealing $630,000 from a client in an unrelated case — said she couldn’t represent herself because of her own health issues.
Thomas specifically claimed she had a spike in her blood pressure since she found out she was at risk of being held in contempt, and said she was going to the doctor Saturday because of health concerns.
At one point, a nervous Thomas said, “I’m having a heart attack,” before she continued to argue for the adjournment. “When you’re in the hot seat, it’s difficult,” she said.
But Engoron said the hearing would go forward with or without Thomas’ lawyer, noting that Thomas was able to argue on her own behalf.
“I have notified your attorney three times that this hearing is going forward,” Engoron said. “The hearing starts now.”
After Thomas again pleaded, without success, to postpone the hearing, she slumped onto the floor.
Earlier in the hearing, Sorokin’s lawyer Duncan Levin argued that the hearing should go forward, saying they’ve been fighting to get the court records for over a year “of exasperated efforts.”
Levin noted that a judge in Sorokin’s criminal court case previously ordered Thomas to hand over the records to Sorokin by August 2022.
“This case is extremely serious and it’s extremely simple,” Levin told the judge.
Levin also argued urgency in holding the Friday hearing as the immigration and criminal appeal cases for the 32-year-old “Soho Grifter” hinged on having all of his client’s records.
He noted that Sorokin — who is currently on home detention — was appearing in court with special permission and while wearing a GPS ankle monitor.
Levin said Thomas has been “consistently blowing me off … she has been giving us excuse, after excuse, after excuse.”
“It’s critical that we get the files,” Levin said. “She has the documents or has destroyed the documents.”
Thomas claims she has already turned over all the court records she had for Sorokin.
“I have no reason to continue this battle with Anna,” Thomas said before her collapse. “I have bigger fish to fry.”
“I gave her the files because it was the path of least resistance,” Thomas said.
Thomas sent two “batches” of files to Sorokin’s lawyers last August, but Sorokin’s lawsuit claims Thomas withheld audio recordings from her immigration hearings.
Sorokin also claims Thomas still hasn’t returned all of her Immigration and Customs Enforcement and parole documents, files from Sorokin’s original criminal defense attorney and personal items including headphones and sunglasses.
For the remainder of the hearing — without Thomas present and with her lawyer finally calling in by video — Sorokin called witnesses to testify about Thomas allegedly not turning over all of the records.
Engoron ultimately ruled to hold Thomas in contempt of court and fined her $1,000 a day — starting Wednesday — “until she either returns the materials or provides an explanation” for where they are.
Thomas’ lawyer Robert Nir said they’ll appeal. He reported Thomas had been taken to NewYork Presbyterian, where “she is suffering from high blood pressure and is being checked for other issues including diabetes and heart issues.”
Thomas didn’t appear in Sorokin’s lawsuit, nor did she hire a lawyer to represent her until after Engoron, on Feb. 21, said he would hold her in contempt if she didn’t surrender the records to Sorokin within a week.
Sorokin — who went by the Delvey alias, a German heiress with a 60 million euro fortune — served four years in prison after she was convicted for stealing $200,000 from banks and businesses.
After her February 2021 release, Sorokin surrendered to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which had a deportation case against her for allegedly outstaying her visa and because she has a felony conviction on her record.