A New York judge on Monday ordered former US President Donald Trump to pay US$10,000 a day until he agrees to deliver accounting and tax documents as part of a civil investigation into his companies.
“This is a major victory, a court has ruled in our favor to convict Donald Trump of obstruction,” New York State Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, wrote on Twitter.
The former president “will have to pay $10,000 a day as long as he continues to defy the court order to deliver documents to my office,” said James, who has been investigating possible fraud in the Trump Organization’s tax practices for years.
On February 17, the prosecutor got a New York judge to order the Republican tycoon and his sons Donald Jr. and Ivanka testify under oath as part of that investigation, a decision the Trumps appealed.
The court also requested before March 31 a series of accounting and tax documents about the Trump Organization.
In the face of a lack of response, James returned to appear before the New York State Supreme Court to ask that Trump be held liable for “obstruction for his refusal to comply with a court order”.
The New York Attorney General suspects that the Trump Organization “fraudulently” inflated the value of its real estate by applying for bank loans and understated it to authorities to pay less taxes.
Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, said she would appeal Monday’s decision.
“All the documents responding to the subpoena were presented to the Attorney General months ago. This does not even come close to meeting the standard of a contempt motion,” he said in a statement.
Trump and his family have tried several times to close the James investigation.
In addition to this investigation, which takes place in the civil sphere, a separate criminal investigation was opened in Manhattan into possible financial fraud within the Trump group.