A New York state judge held former President Trump in contempt of court on Monday for defying an order to turn over documents to state attorney general Letitia James for her office’s civil investigation into his business practices.
Judge Arthur Engoron ordered the former president to comply with subpoenas that New York Attorney General Letitia James initially issued in December seeking records. Trump also faces a fine of $10,000 per day until he meets the court’s requirements.
“Mr. Trump: I know you take your business seriously, and I take mine seriously,” Engorgon said in court, before holding Trump in contempt, according to the New York Times.
The state attorney general’s investigation into Trump’s business practices has occurred in parallel and in tandem with a criminal probe led by the Manhattan District Attorney — formerly Cy Vance, now Alvin Bragg. Both investigations center on whether the former president inflated or deflated the value of his real estate holdings for banks and tax authorities.
Last January, James’ office said that the Trump Organization engaged in “fraudulent or misleading” practices, but would continue her investigation before potentially suing Trump or his company.
In a February ruling, Engoron ordered the former president and his two eldest children, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., to comply with subpoenas that James issued in December. The Trumps appealed that ruling.
Engoron’s latest ruling comes after lawyers from James’ office asked that Trump be held in contempt and incur a daily fine of $10,000 for each day he fails to cooperate. James’ office said the former president refused to turn over documents after it issued eight separate requests. Trump’s lawyers alleged that the requests from James’ office were “grossly overbroad” and failed to “adequately” describe the requested documents.
Last week, Trump attorney Alina Habba denied in a court filing that the former president had any of the documents that James requested. Habba claimed that if the documents exist, they would be in the possession of the Trump Organization.
Habba also alleged that James filed the motion for contempt without prior notice, “seemingly in an effort to turn this matter into a public spectacle.”
Separately, Trump sued James in December in an effort to halt her civil tax fraud investigation into his company’s business practices, as well as her involvement with the Manhattan district attorney’s criminal probe of his company. The case remains open.
Correction: Trump was held in civil, not criminal, contempt of court.