(Reuters) – A New York state appeals court on Tuesday upheld a decision that found Donald Trump in civil contempt for failing to comply with a subpoena from New York Attorney General Letitia James in her investigation into his business practices.
In a 5-0 decision, the Manhattan Appellate Division said James had established by “clear and convincing evidence” that Trump’s response to the December 1, 2021 subpoena was inadequate.
The court said that Trump’s claim that a thorough search had failed to reveal relevant documents in his possession, without explaining what steps were taken to ensure that nothing would be lost or discarded, “prejudicially violated the court̵7;s legal, clear mandate, which he had knowledge.”
It also said Attorney General Arthur Engoron, who is overseeing the case in state court in Manhattan, had the authority to impose $10,000 daily fines until Trump complied with the subpoena.
Mr. Trump racked up and later paid $110,000 in fines.
Lawyers for the former US president did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
James said Tuesday’s decision “sends a clear message that there are consequences for abusing the justice system.”
The attorney general sued Trump, his three oldest adult children and the Trump Organization for $250 million in September over an alleged decades-long scheme to manipulate asset values and Trump’s net worth to win better terms from banks and insurance companies.
Last month, she called for new sanctions against Trump, saying his claims that he lacked adequate knowledge of many specific allegations in the trial were “provably false,” frivolous or otherwise inappropriate.
Mr. Trump has called Ms. James’ investigation a politically motivated witch hunt.
He ended two legal challenges to James’ lawsuit last month after a Florida judge imposed $937,989 in sanctions against Trump and his lawyer for filing a “totally frivolous” lawsuit accusing Hillary Clinton of trying to rig the 2016 US presidential election .
These sanctions are on hold until Mr. Trump is posting a $1.03 million bond for a possible appeal.