A judge in New York held former President Donald Trump in civil contempt Monday and imposed $10,000 per day in fines, after the New York Attorney General’s office said Trump defied a subpoena for documents during a long-running probe into his business practices.
Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally on April 23 in Delaware, Ohio.
Judge Arthur Engoron of Manhattan ruled Trump was in contempt of court during a hearing Monday, ordering him to pay $10,000 per day until he complies with a subpoena, the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James confirmed in a statement.
James asked the court to hold Trump in contempt earlier this month, arguing he “did not comply at all” with a subpoena to hand over tax records and other financial documents, despite a March 31 deadline to do so.
Trump’s attorneys called the request to hold the former president in civil contempt “grossly excessive” and insisted that, after a lengthy search, they couldn’t find any of the documents requested by the attorney general’s office.
James’ office called Engoron’s decision a “major victory” in a statement.
Trump’s office and the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
James’ office launched its civil investigation into the Trump Organization three years ago, after Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen told Congress the then-president habitually misvalued his real estate assets to suit his purposes. Earlier this year, James said in a court filing she had “significant evidence” Trump manipulated the valuations of some properties to get tax breaks or more favorable lending or insurance terms. The attorney general’s office still hasn’t filed a civil suit against the Trump Organization, but the probe has moved forward this year, with James subpoenaing the former president and his two eldest adult sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump. Meanwhile, Trump has denied any wrongdoing and accused James—a Democrat—of leading a politically motivated investigation. Trump sued James’ office in federal court late last year, seeking to halt an investigation his attorneys called a “thinly-veiled effort to publicly malign Trump and his associates.”
The Trump Organization’s real estate asset valuations were also reportedly the subject of a criminal investigation by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, but the status of that effort is unclear. Prosecutors charged the Trump Organization and CFO Allen Weisselberg with tax fraud last year, but the former president and his company still haven’t been charged with making fraudulent financial statements, and the New York Times reported last month Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is skeptical about whether there’s enough evidence to bring charges. Bragg insisted in a statement earlier this month the probe is still ongoing.
Source : Forbes