Trump Hit With Six Figure Fine For Contempt Of Court


Donald Trump has paid a $110,000 fine he incurred in association with his failure to comply to a satisfactory level with an investigation into his company by New York state Attorney General Letitia James. James is examining the Trump company’s apparent deceptive valuations of its assets — false valuations that were meant to help the company obtain financial benefits like tax breaks.

Information on Trump’s payment of that fine came from James’s office, which revealed the development Friday — although as of that point, Trump hadn’t undertaken all the steps necessary for an associated finding that he’s in contempt of court to be lifted. James sought a range of materials that Trump failed to provide; his side claimed items subject to her demands for information at least might be found with the Trump Organization itself. The former president had until what seems like this past Friday to fulfill the requirements to set the contempt finding aside — otherwise, fines could start getting racked up again. Originally, the fine was $10,000 a day. It was paused after the submission to New York Judge Arthur Engoron of 66 pages from the Trump team that went over attempts to find materials James sought, but the contempt finding wasn’t lifted.

Although a digital forensics company has at this point completed a required examination of Trump’s files, Trump’s team still needed to provide “new affidavits that give more detail about their search for documents sought by the investigators,” as CNBC summarizes an explanation from a spokesperson for James. (That information was current as of Friday afternoon.) The new affidavits apparently must include information on “document retention and destruction policy” at the Trump company, per CNN. If Trump provides those new details on efforts taken to find what James has been pursuing, then the contempt finding would seem set to be lifted. As of Saturday, it wasn’t clear whether Trump’s side had turned in the required documentation.

Originally, Trump’s team provided explanations to the court of the search for documents that were profoundly inadequate. Engoron said a personal affidavit from Trump was “completely devoid of any useful detail” and “fails to state where he kept his files, how his files were stored in the regular course of business, who had access to such files, what if any, the retention policy was for such files, and, importantly, where he believes such files are currently located,” among other issues. Going forward, because James’s investigation is civil rather than criminal in nature, it’s not set up to lead to criminal charges in the event of findings of misconduct. Rather, it appears poised to potentially lead to litigation against the Trump company with the possibility of significant financial penalties for the former president’s business if James proves whatever claims she brings.