A New York judge found former President Donald Trump in contempt of court for not producing documents subpoenaed by the state’s attorney general as part of a civil investigation into his business dealings. Judge Arthur Engoron ordered Trump to pay a fine of $10,000 per day until he complies.
Trump lost a bid to put down a subpoena from New York Attorney General Letitia James then failed to produce all the documents by a court-ordered Mar. 3 deadline, later extended to Mar. 31 at his lawyers’ request.
James, a Democrat, had asked the court to hold Trump in contempt after he missed the court-imposed deadline. Trump, a Republican, has been fighting James in court over her investigation, which he has called a politically motivated “witch hunt.”
Justice Engoron ruled that a contempt finding was appropriate because of what the judge called “repeated failures” to hand over materials and that it was not clear Trump had conducted a complete search for responsive documents.
James is investigating whether the Trump Organization, the former president’s New York City-based family company, misstated the values of its real estate properties to obtain favorable loans and tax deductions.
James has said her probe had found “significant evidence” suggesting that for more than a decade the company’s financial statements “relied on misleading asset valuations and other misrepresentations to secure economic benefits.”
The attorney general has questioned how the Trump Organization valued the Trump brand, as well as properties including golf clubs in New York and Scotland and Trump’s own penthouse apartment in Midtown Manhattan’s Trump Tower.
Alina Habba, a lawyer for Trump and the company, said at the hearing they plan to appeal, that James’ investigation was a “fishing expedition” and that the Trump Organization was “right on schedule” with its production of documents.
“We respectfully disagree with the court’s decision today. All of the documents, as I explained, responsive to the subpoena, were already produced to the attorney general months ago,” Habba said.