Trump appeals contempt ruling dinging him with $10,000 daily fine

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Former President Donald Trump Photographer: Tristan Wheelock/Bloomberg

▪︎ N.Y. judge said Trump ‘willfully disobeyed’ a subpoena ruling
▪︎ Trump’s lawyer argues there are no records to turn ove

Former President Donald Trump appealed a New York judge’s ruling holding him in contempt of court and imposing a $10,000 daily fine for failing to comply with a subpoena in a civil fraud investigation.

The challenge, filed Wednesday in Manhattan, seeks reversal of an April 25 finding that Trump violated a court order to hand over records to New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is probing potentially misleading asset valuations at the former president’s real-estate company.

The filing by Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, didn’t give details about what arguments she’ll make on appeal. She previously said she’s prepared to swear that Trump doesn’t have any records to turn over.

James, a Democrat, said in a statement that the appeal is another attempt to delay her investigation.

“We’ve seen this playbook before, and it has never stopped our investigation of Mr. Trump and his organization,” James said. “This time is no different.”

New York state court Judge Arthur Engoron held that Trump had “willfully disobeyed” a February order affirming the subpoena was valid. Trump agreed to comply by March 31, but when the deadline hit he instead filed 16 pages of what the judge described as “boilerplate objections.”

Engoron ruled that Habba’s written guarantee that she’d looked for records and found none that were relevant was insufficient. The judge said that only a detailed account of what was searched, how it was searched and who conducted the search could justify responding to the subpoena with no records.

James’s lawyers previously said that subpoenas to the Trump Organization and other individuals had resulted in more than 6 million pages of corporate records being handed over, but that only 10 documents were Trump’s.

The probe has already uncovered “significant” evidence that misleading asset valuations on properties including a golf club in Los Angeles and a Manhattan skyscraper may have been used to get more favorable terms on loans, insurance and taxes, James has said. Trump and his company have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and claimed the probe is politically motivated.

The case is New York v. Trump Organization, 2022-00814, Supreme Court of the State of New York (Manhattan). (Bloomberg)

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