After the New York attorney general's office said that Donald Trump didn't give them documents as part of its investigation into the former President's company, a judge in New York is holding him in civil contempt.
Trump did not comply with the demand, according to Judge Arthur Engoron, and his counsel failed to disclose how a search of Trump's materials was done. Trump will be penalized $10,000 per day until he complies.
"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 hearing Monday. A written decision with a start date for fines is expected Tuesday.
Trump's lawyer, Alina Habba, said he will appeal. According to Habba, his client sent the AG all relevant material "months ago."
As part of its investigation, New York Attorney General Letitia James' office said it discovered many deceptive or fraudulent misstatements and omissions in the Trump Organization's financial records, which were supplied to lenders and insurers, among others.
Trump has not produced "even a single responsive document" to a subpoena issued by the AG in December, according to Andrew Amer of the attorney general's office. Mr. Amer argued that the lack of evidence prevents the AG's office from "fully understanding" the Trump organization's transactions.
Kevin Wallace, also from the AG's office, said obtaining papers for the probe was like "pulling teeth." He defined the Trump Organization as a 500-entity family business involving millions of dollars.
In court, Habba claimed the former president does not believe he is above the law, and that he did submit hundreds of thousands of documents through his assistants. Habba said she searched Trump's hard copy calendars and files herself and interviewed him in Florida. He doesn't email or text, she added, and he doesn't work from home or anywhere else.
In court, the judge asked why Trump didn't sign an affidavit swearing that he did, in fact, comply. Habba said Trump would do just that.
James' office has said in court documents that the Trump Organization is being investigated for falsifying assessments and financial statements. The office has subpoenaed documents from the former president and his company.
The Trump Organization has been given six separate subpoenas, produced over 6 million pages of documents, and 13 Trump Organization witnesses have been deposed since the investigation began three years ago, according to Habba.
"The scope is continuously changing to fit the attorney general's needs," Habba said in court. "When it is not satisfied with the evidence it has obtained it pivots and looks for something new."
Engoron also agreed to the attorney general's office's request to only file documents with the court, because disclosing their contents could hurt its investigation.