"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," said Judge Arthur Engoron.
Donald Trump is being held in civil contempt by a New York judge for failing to comply with a subpoena for business documents required for an investigation by the state attorney general’s office of his company. New York Attorney General Letitia James slammed the former POTUS for delaying the handover of the demanded documents. Following a more than two-hour hearing, Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron found Trump to be in contempt for not abiding by his order to comply with the subpoena. His attorneys failed to reveal how a search of materials held by Trump was conducted by a court-ordered March 3 deadline which was extended to March 31 later.
Thus, Engoron has decided to fine Trump $10,000 a day until he finally complies. "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," noted Engoron during the hearing on Monday, according to CNBC. James is currently investigating the Trump Organization, the 75-year-old's New York-based family company, for allegations of misstating and manipulating the values of its various real estate assets to obtain favorable financing terms for loans, and insurance coverage to reduce its taxes.
James noted that a three-year-old probe discovered "significant evidence" of the company's misleading asset valuations in its financial statements for over a decade. "Today's ruling makes clear: No one is above the law," she said in a statement on Monday. Meanwhile, the Republican has denied any wrongdoing and plans to appeal the contempt ruling.
"We respectfully disagree with the court's decision. All documents, as I explained, responsive to the subpoena were already produced to the attorney general months ago," said Trump's attorney Alina Habba. Andrew Amer, who is with the attorney general's office, previously claimed that the former President failed to produce "even a single responsive document" for the subpoena which was issued in December.
"We are being hampered in our efforts to have a complete understanding because we don't have evidence from the person who sits at the top of the organization," said Amer. Habba defended her client pointing out how the attorney general's investigation has "seemingly become aimless."
"The scope is continuously changing to fit the attorney general's needs. When it is not satisfied with the evidence it has obtained it pivots and looks for something new," she added, according to CNN. Meanwhile, Trump has branded the investigation as politically motivated, especially because James is a Democrat, reports Reuters.
That being said, if Trump fails to pay the fine he could be subjected to jail time per lawyer Sarah Krissoff, who is not involved in the case. However, she noted that such a situation is highly unlikely as the judge could opt for other penalties like increasing the fine amount.
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