A New York appeals court upheld sanctions against former President Donald Trump totaling $110,000 for failing to respond to a New York state attorney general subpoena for documents.
Trump appealed an order from New York state Judge Arthur Engoron, who last year ordered Trump be sanctioned $10,000 per day for failing to comply with a December 2021 subpoena as part of the state’s investigation into the Trump Organization’s finances. Trump appealed the order last year.
In a brief decision Tuesday, a panel of three judges said the financial sanction “was a proper exercise of the court’s discretionary power and was not excessive or otherwise improper, under the particular circumstances.”
The sanction was the first – of what turned out to be many – facing Trump, or his attorneys, from judges.
“Once again, the courts have ruled that Donald Trump is not above the law. For years, he tried to stall and thwart our lawful investigation into his financial dealings, but today’s decision sends a clear message that there are consequences for abusing the legal system. We will not be bullied or dissuaded from pursuing justice,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James.
The Trump Organization could not immediately be reached for comment.
The attorney general’s office asked for sanctions after months of delay.
Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, said at the time that they had searched and found no documents to provide investigators other than the 10 previously turned over by the Trump Organization.
Engoron called it a “boilerplate” response and said the attorney failed to address whether Trump’s team had searched file cabinets, calendars and other records.
In the written order, Engoron wrote that Trump “willfully disobeyed” his prior order to comply with the subpoena for documents, and said that the former president’s failure to comply harmed the civil investigation being conducted by James.
The contempt finding was later lifted after Trump signed an affidavit stating he no longer had cell phones and had authorized his attorneys to search his properties. The attorneys subsequently signed affidavits describing their searches and attempts to reach Trump’s former assistants.
James sued Trump, his three eldest children and the Trump Organization in September alleging they engaged in a decade long fraud and mislead lenders, insurers and others for their personal gain.
The Trumps have denied any wrongdoing and said the investigation is politically motivated.