A New York judge on April 25 found former President Donald Trump in contempt for not proving he responded to a subpoena.
New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron ordered Trump to pay a fine of $10,000 per day.
“Mr. Trump, I know you take your business seriously, and I take mine seriously,” Engoron said before issuing the ruling from the bench in a Manhattan courtroom, following a hearing.
New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat whose office is probing the Trump Organization, asked for the ruling, alleging Trump failed to comply with a subpoena issued in late 2021 and an order from Engoron earlier this year that found the subpoena valid and enforceable.
Trump’s attorneys informed James on March 31 that a search for documents and communications responsive to the subpoena turned up nothing.
“After conducting a diligent search and review, respondent’s counsel determined that respondent was not in possession of any documents responsive to the subpoena and that all potentially responsive documents were in the possession, custody or control of the Trump Organization,” Alina Habba, one of the lawyers, said in a recent filing.
“The contempt motion is inappropriate and misleading,” Habba added in court, insisting that Trump complied and recounted traveling to Florida to ask Trump whether he had any documents in his possession that would be responsive to the subpoena.
“There are no more documents left to produce by President Trump,” she said.
But Engoron said a contempt finding was appropriate because Trump and his lawyers hadn’t shown that they had conducted a proper search for the records sought by the subpoena.
“Today, justice prevailed,” James said in a statement. “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.”
“We respectfully disagree with the court’s decision. All documents responsive to the subpoena were produced to the attorney general months ago. The only issue raised by the attorney general at today’s hearing was with an affidavit submitted which copied the form mandated by the attorney general. This does not even come close to meeting the standard on a motion for contempt and, thus, we intend to appeal,” Habbas told The Epoch Times in an email.
Trump has said James, who ran for office vowing to investigate the Republican if she won, is selectively prosecuting him and his family.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.