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Judge Holds Trump in Contempt With Daily $10K Fine Over Financial Investigation

Trump’s legal team said that they looked but couldn’t find the documents sought by investigators.

Former President Donald Trump speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at The Rosen Shingle Creek on February 26, 2022, in Orlando, Florida.

On Monday, a New York Supreme Court judge held Donald Trump in contempt of court for failing to comply with a subpoena from New York Attorney General Letitia James for financial records related to his business practices.

The subpoena ordered Trump to turn over documents concerning personal statements about his company’s finances, documents regarding tax audits and information about insurance. The former president was supposed to comply with the order by March 31 — a deadline that had been agreed to by both parties — but refused to do so, claiming that he didn’t have the documents in question.

Trump will now face a fine of $10,000 per day from the court, which will be filed on Tuesday, until he complies with the subpoena or legitimately proves that his legal team has no record of the documents that the subpoena sought. The investigators are also seeking information from three of Trump’s mobile devices and documents from specific locations within the Trump Organization, including ones located right outside of Trump’s office.

“Mr. Trump, I know you take your business seriously and I take mine seriously. I hereby hold you in civil contempt and fine you $10,000 per day until you purge that contempt,” Judge Arthur Engoron said at the hearing.

Trump’s attorney said that he plans on appealing the decision. He has previously denied any allegations of wrongdoing and called the investigation “unconstitutional.” His legal team filed a lawsuit late last year in hopes of stopping the inquiry.

James’s office said earlier this month that Trump had begun complaining about the subpoena around the deadline. Trump had already missed a previous March 3 deadline to turn in the documents.

“The judge’s order was crystal clear: Donald J. Trump must comply with our subpoena and turn over relevant documents to my office,” James said in a statement. “Instead of obeying a court order, Mr. Trump is trying to evade it. We are seeking the court’s immediate intervention because no one is above the law.”

James’s office has been in the process of investigating Trump and his business’s finances since 2019. Earlier this year, the investigation uncovered a letter from accounting firm Mazars that cut ties with the Trump Organization, claiming that the company’s financial filings for the past year were no longer reliable and that they should be recanted.

According to James, the investigation has also uncovered that Trump’s businesses often rely on fraudulent practices to mislead lenders and insurers and to make it seem as though Trump’s net worth is higher than it actually is.

James has also subpoenaed testimony about the family’s business practices from Trump and two of his children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump. They have appealed that subpoena and are waiting on the results of the appeal.

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