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Judge finds Donald former President Trump in contempt in New York legal fight

A New York judge has found former President Donald Trump in contempt of court and fined him $ 10,000 on Monday for failing to respond adequately to a summons issued by the state attorney general as part of his political investigation into business dealings. Related video from January: New York Attorney General says Trump’s company misled banks and tax officials “You know you take your business seriously and I take mine,” Engoron told a Manhattan courtroom crowded with reporters but Trump absent. New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, had asked the court to despise Trump after he lost a court on March 31. Delivery notice imposed Trump, a Republican, fights with James in court over her investigation, which he described as Politically motivated “witch hunt”. During a hearing Monday, Trump’s lawyer, Alina Hampa, said that “Donald Trump does not believe he is above the law.” “They were summoned to the attorney general months ago,” he said. “Today, justice has prevailed,” said James. in a release after Engoron’s decision. “For years, Donald Trump has tried to circumvent the law and stop our legal investigation into him and his company’s finances. Today’s decision makes it clear: No one is above the law.” Habba, who has repeatedly insisted that she made every effort to comply with the summons, even traveled to Florida to ask Trump specifically if he had any documents that would meet the requirement. The judge, however, criticized the lack of explanation in Trump’s official response to the summons, telling Hamba: “You can not stand here and say that I looked for this and that.” asked why the response to the summons did not include an affidavit from Trump. Hampa noted that Trump does not send emails or text messages and does not have a work computer “at home or anywhere else.” He described the search for the documents as “diligent”. “The act of contempt is inappropriate and misleading,” he said. “He complied … There are no documents left for President Trump to produce.” He also mocked James’s investigation as “a political crusade” and “really a fishing mission”, saying that Trump and his companies had delivered more than 6 million documents related to 103 Trump entities over an eight-year period. “Everything as quickly as possible. This is a waste of judicial resources,” Hampa added. He also defended Trump’s character, saying: “My client is an honest man to the detriment of some people in this room.” Trump’s spokesmen did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Trump may have been questioning the value of assets such as golf courses and skyscrapers in his financial statements for more than a decade. And he said that the failure to deliver any document by the March 31 deadline to respond to the summons was “essentially Mr. Trump nodded at the behest of this court.” We intend to take enforcement measures in the near future. “A parallel criminal investigation is being conducted by the prosecutor Manhattan’s Alvin Bragg, also a Democrat .___ Associated Press writer Jill Colvin in Washington contributed to this story.

A New York judge has found former President Donald Trump in contempt of court and fined him $ 10,000 a day Monday for failing to respond adequately to a summons issued by the state attorney general as part of a political inquiry into his business dealings.

Related video from January: New York Attorney General says Trump’s company misled banks and tax officials

Judge Arthur Engoron said a finding of contempt was appropriate because Trump and his lawyers had not shown that they had properly investigated the files requested by the summons.

“Mr. Trump, I know you take your business seriously and I take mine,” Engoron told a Manhattan courtroom that was packed with reporters but Trump was absent. “I despise you with civil contempt and fine you $ 10,000 a day” until the terms of the summons are met.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, had asked the court to despise Trump after he missed the March 31 deadline imposed by the court to hand over documents.

Trump, a Republican, was arguing with James in court over her investigation, which he called a “witch-hunt” for political motives. During an oral hearing Monday, Trump’s lawyer, Alina Hampa, said that “Donald Trump does not believe he is above the law.”

Hampa said in a statement that the decision would be appealed.

“We respectfully disagree with the court’s decision. All the documents that responded to the summons were presented to the attorney general months ago,” he said.

James conducted a lengthy investigation into Trump’s organization, the former president’s family company, focusing on what he claimed was a pattern of misleading banks and tax authorities about the value of his property.

“Justice has prevailed today,” James said in a statement following Engoron’s decision. “For years, Donald Trump has tried to circumvent the law and stop our legal investigation into him and his company’s financial transactions. Today’s decision makes it clear: No one is above the law.”

The judge’s contempt came despite Habba’s strong arguments, which repeatedly insisted that he made every effort to comply with the summons, and even traveled to Florida to specifically ask Trump if he had documents that would respond. in the requirement.

The judge, however, criticized the lack of explanation in Trump’s official response to the summons, telling Hamba: “You can not stand here and say that I looked for this and that.”

And after saying he felt “like there was an 800 pound gorilla in the room here,” he asked why the response to the summons did not include an affidavit from Trump.

Hampa noted that Trump does not send emails or text messages and does not have a work computer “at home or anywhere else.” He described the search for documents as “diligent”.

“The act of contempt is inappropriate and misleading,” he said. “He complied … There are no other documents left for President Trump to produce.”

He also mocked James’s inquiry as a “political crusade” and “really a fishing mission”, saying that Trump and his companies had handed over more than 6 million documents to 103 Trump entities over an eight-year period.

“We have overturned everything as quickly as possible. This is a waste of judicial resources,” Habba added.

He also defended Trump’s character, saying: “My client is an honest man to the detriment of some people in this room.”

Trump’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

James’s investigators told court records that they had uncovered evidence that Trump may have been questioning the value of assets such as golf courses and skyscrapers in his financial statements for more than a decade.

At the hearing, Assistant Attorney General Andrew Amer said the investigation was being blocked “because we do not have information from the person at the top of the organization.”

He said the failure to deliver any documents by the March 31 deadline to respond to the summons was “essentially Mr. Trump blowing his nose at this court order.”

However, Assistant Attorney General Kevin Wallace indicated that the investigation was to enter a new phase, saying: “We intend to take enforcement action in the near future.”

Manhattan Prosecutor Alvin Bragg, also a Democrat, is conducting a parallel criminal investigation.

___

Associated Press writer Jill Colvin in Washington contributed to this story.

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