In this week’s episode of Republican politicians past and present behaving badly, America’s most recent single-term ex-president Donald Trump has been ordered to pay $10,000 per day in fines after failing to adequately respond to a subpoena issued by New York’s attorney general as part of a civil investigation into his business dealings.
The Associated Press is reporting that Judge Arthur Engoron said a contempt finding was fitting because Trump and his lawyers hadn’t shown relevant documents asked for by New York’s AG, Letitia James. The former President has been fighting James in court over her investigation, calling it (as he’s called many attacks against him) a politically motivated ‘witch hunt.’
James’ recent order is a part of a longstanding investigation in the Trump Organization’s finances that began back in 2019. The Wall Street Journal reports that, at that time, James’s office claimed to have “uncovered a swath of evidence that former President Donald Trump and his company falsely valued assets to obtain loans, insurance coverage and tax deductions.” In December 2021, Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba filed a lawsuit against James, accusing her of bias, harassment, abuse of power, and encroaching on Trump’s civil rights. The full complaint, which has been uploaded by Politico, reads:
For years, [James] has flagrantly abused her investigatory powers to target her political adversaries and advance her career. Her relentless attacks on Donald J. Trump serve as a prime example. Since taking office, she has tirelessly bombarded him, his family and his business, Trump Organization LLC, with unwarranted subpoenas in a bitter crusade to “take on” the President.
In January 2022, James filed a motion to compel Trump, and his children Ivanka and Donald Jr., to appear in court under sworn testimony and provide documents deemed relevant to the case. A statement from the official Attorney General office on January 18, 2022 says:
Thus far in our investigation, we have uncovered significant evidence that suggests Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization falsely and fraudulently valued multiple assets and misrepresented those values to financial institutions for economic benefit. The Trumps must comply with our lawful subpoenas for documents and testimony because no one in this country can pick and choose if and how the law applies to them. We will not be deterred in our efforts to continue this investigation and ensure that no one is above the law.
The Trumps attempted to “quash” this subpoena in January, only for it to be approved by Federal Judge Engoron the next month. The Trumps were expected to provide subpoenaed documents by March 31—a deadline they didn’t honor.
Today, multiple reports are confirming that Engoron officially motioned to hold Trump in “contempt of court,” which is basically legal jargon for “he’s been bad and now he has to be punished.”
“Mr. Trump, I know you take your business seriously and I take mine seriously. I hereby hold you in civil contempt and fine you $10,000 per day until you purge that contempt,” Engoron said at a Monday hearing according to CNN.
Effective today, Trump will have to pay a daily $10,000 payment until he provides the court-ordered documents. Kinda makes you think he could be hiding something...