Donald Trump’s bid to stonewall fraud investigators is costing him $70,000 a week in escalating penalties for an alleged failure to surrender documents demanded by New York’s attorney-general.
The $US10,000-a-day fines were imposed when the ex-president was found to be in contempt of court for ignoring a subpoena demanding documents related to a New York civil investigation into the real estate tycoon’s business dealings.
In a new, 66-page court filing, Trump’s legal team insists all relevant documents had been surrendered to New York Attorney-General Letitia James’s office, which is investigating if he committed fraud by misstating the value of assets such as skyscrapers and golf courses on financial statements for more than a decade.
Trump has attacked the investigation as a political witch hunt and recently branded James, who is black, “racist” and said the courts were “biased, unyielding, and totally unfair”.
Last week, a New York appellate judge rejected a bid to suspend the fine while Trump appeals the decision.
Trump’s appeal rejected
In the most recent court filing, Trump attorney Alina Habba, who has called the contempt ruling and fines “unconscionable and indefensible”, said the responses to the subpoena were complete and correct and no relevant documents or information were withheld.
Habba informed the court that she conducted searches of Trump’s offices and private quarters at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, and his residence in Mar-a-Lago, Florida but did not find any relevant documents that had not already been produced.
The filing also detailed searches of other locations, including the Trump Organization’s offices in New York.
In a separate sworn affidavit included with the filing, Trump stated there are no relevant documents that have not already been produced.
He added he owns two mobile phones – an iPhone for personal use he submitted in March to be searched as part of the subpoena, then submitted again in May, plus a second phone he was recently given that is only used to post on Truth Social, the social media network he started after being banned by Twitter, Facebook and other platforms.
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