NEW YORK — A judge on Monday held Donald Trump in contempt of court for failing to turn over records being sought as part of a civil probe into Trump’s business practices — a striking and potentially costly public admonishment of the former president.
Lawyers from the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) did not seek to jail Trump, but asked New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron to penalize him financially for failing to comply with an order to produce the documents by March 31.
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The judge said he would hold Trump in contempt until Trump and his legal team fully detail the extent of their search and either submit the records or swear that no records being sought exist. He asked for the “who, what, when, where and how any search was conducted.”
While the Trump Organization has given James’s office more than 6 million pages of records, investigators are still seeking items from Trump’s personal files, including handwritten notes related to statements of his net worth that he signed and submitted to banks and other parties. The documents were first requested nearly five months ago.
Also at Monday’s hearing, a lawyer for James’s office said an “enforcement action” may soon be taken in the long-running civil investigation. James has the ability to sue over her findings, a move that could result in significant financial penalties and other repercussions for Trump’s family real estate and golf resort operation if they are found to be in violation of the law.
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This is a developing story. It will be updated.