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Trump Held In Contempt After Refusing To Comply With Subpoenas

Former President Donald Trump

Former President Donald Trump has been held in contempt of court by a New York State judge who ruled Trump hasn't complied with a subpoena to turn over documents related to his family real estate business.

Arthur Engoron of the New York County State Supreme Court issued the decision Monday in the civil case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is investigating allegations of tax fraud and other financial improprieties by The Trump Organization.

Trump will face a $10K fine for each day he refuses to comply with the subpoena and hand over the documents she has requested. James’ office did not seek a jail term but asked that he face a financial penalty, The Washington Post reports.

“Mr. Trump, I know you take your business seriously, and I take mine seriously,” Engoron said in issuing the order, according to multiple reports. Trump did not attend the hearing. 

“Today, justice prevailed,” James said in a statement after the order Monday. “For years, Donald Trump has tried to evade the law and stop our lawful investigation into him and his company’s financial dealings. Today’s ruling makes clear: No one is above the law.”

James has been investigating the Trump Organization since 2019, looking at whether the company lied about the value of various real estate assets in order to pay less in taxes and score better loan terms. In January, her office filed a lawsuit to force Trump and two of his children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., to testify in its ongoing civil fraud investigation. In February, Trump’s long-serving accounting firm said it would no longer work with his company and that it can't guarantee the veracity of the financial statements it has prepared over the last decade.

Trump’s attorney said at Monday's hearing that he is an “honest person” and that he will appeal the decision. His legal representatives told the court they had looked for the documents James had requested, but had not uncovered them. Already, the Trump Organization has provided 6 million pages of documents. but the judge said the lawyers had not given enough details on how the search was undertaken.

The former president will be held in contempt until his team documents the details of the search and provides the records, or swears the requested records do not exist. 

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is also running a criminal investigation into the Trump business's dealings, but that investigation has reportedly stalled, prompting two of the prosecutors working the case to resign.