Trump held in contempt: Trump Org. must pay $10,000 in daily fines until documents turned over

Judge Arthur Engoron cited Trump's "repeated failures" to comply with the New York attorney general's subpoena

By Jon Skolnik

Published April 25, 2022 2:00PM (EDT)

Donald Trump and Letitia James (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Donald Trump and Letitia James (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

A New York judge is holding Donald Trump in contempt over his failure to produce documents as part of the state's civil investigation into the Trump Organization's finances, a move that could cost the former president $10,000 for every day until he complies.

Judge Arthur Engoron ruled on Monday that Trump has rebuffed the court's order to turn over the documents and will be fined until James' subpoena is observed. 

"Mr. Trump: I know you take your business seriously, and I take mine seriously," said Engoron, before issuing the ruling, citing the former president's "repeated failures" to go along with the probe. 

New York Attorney General Letitia James said on Monday that "justice prevailed" in light of the ruling.

RELATED: Trump under investigation: Your guide to who's probing what, and how it's going 

"Our investigation into Donald Trump and the Trump Organization's financial dealings will continue undeterred because no one is above the law," she added. 

Trump's legal team has reportedly failed to produce "even a single responsive document" for the investigation, according to CNN. "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 attorney Andrew Stuart Amer, who works for James' office.


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Trump's team has said they will appeal the ruling. "It is truly a fishing expedition," said Trump lawyer Alina Habba, who alleged that her team is "right on schedule" with the inquiry.

Still, the contempt charge marks a notable loss for the former president, who has aggressively sought to stamp out the investigation at every turn, accusing the probe of being "politically motivated."

The probe, launched over two years ago, centers on possible fraud within the Trump Organization. James is specifically assessing whether the former president overvalued and undervalued certain assets for tax, insurance, and lending reasons.

In January, James filed a motion to compel Trump and his children, Ivanka and Don Jr., to provide private testimony to her office. Around that time, the attorney general said her office had found "significant evidence indicating that the Trump Organization used fraudulent and misleading asset valuations."

And in March, Engoron formally approved that motion, allowing James' office to depose all three, though none have been questioned thus far. 

RELATED: ​​Trump lawyer interrupts hearing on company's finances to demand Hillary Clinton probe

James' inquiry is being undertaken in parallel with that of newly-elected Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who insisted this week that his criminal probe is moving forward despite the recent resignations of two top prosecutors on the case.


Jon Skolnik

Jon Skolnik is a staff writer at Salon. His work has appeared in Current Affairs, The Baffler, and The New York Daily News.

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Brief Donald Trump Judge Arthur Engoron New York Attorney General Letitia James Trump Organization