Donald Trump appeals contempt ruling and $10,000 daily fine

New York court pushing for former president to hand over records in investigation

Former US president Donald Trump. Reuters

Former US president Donald Trump has 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 on Wednesday in Manhattan, seeks reversal of an April 25 finding that Mr Trump violated a court order to hand over records to New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is investigating potentially misleading asset valuations at the former president’s real estate company.

The filing by Mr 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 Mr Trump doesn’t have any records to turn over.

Ms James 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 organisation,” Ms James said. “This time is no different.”

Judge Arthur Engoron held that Mr Trump had “wilfully disobeyed” a February order affirming the subpoena was valid. Mr 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".

Mr Engoron ruled that Ms 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.

The investigation 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 gain more favourable terms on loans, insurance and taxes, Ms James has said.

Mr Trump and his company have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and claimed the investigation is politically motivated.

Updated: April 28, 2022, 6:51 AM
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