New York judge holds Trump in contempt over records
A New York judge on Monday held Donald J. Trump in contempt of court for failing to turn over documents to the state’s attorney general, an extraordinary rebuke of the former President.
The judge, Arthur F. Engoron, ordered Trump to comply with a subpoena seeking records and assessed a fine of $10,000 per day until he satisfied the court’s requirements. In essence, the judge concluded that Trump had failed to cooperate with the attorney-general, Letitia James, and follow the court’s orders.
“Mr. Trump: I know you take your business seriously, and I take mine seriously,” remarked Justice Engoron of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan, before he held Trump in contempt and banged his gavel. Alina Habba, a lawyer for Trump, said she intended to appeal the judge’s ruling.
Still, the ruling represents a significant victory for James, whose office is conducting a civil investigation into whether Trump falsely inflated the value of his assets in annual financial statements.
In January, James, a Democrat, said her office had concluded that the Trump Organisation had engaged in “fraudulent or misleading” practices involving the statements. But she said she would continue to investigate before deciding whether to sue Trump or his company.
Although James does not have the authority to file criminal charges, her civil inquiry is running parallel to a criminal investigation led by the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, who is examining some of the same conduct.
James’s office is participating in that separate investigation, which had appeared to be nearing an indictment of Trump earlier this year, before Bragg raised concerns about prosecutors’ ability to prove their case. Bragg, also a Democrat, inherited the inquiry from his predecessor.
New York Times News Service