GETTY IMAGES : Donald Trump's company is accused of inflating the value of assets to defraud lenders

A US judge has held former President Donald Trump in contempt for failing to turn over files for an investigation into his business practices.

Justice Arthur Engoron on Monday ordered Mr Trump pay a fine of $10,000 (£7,850) per day until he complies.

New York Attorney General Letitia James had asked the court to hold Mr Trump in contempt after he missed a March deadline to present certain documents.

Mr Trump’s lawyer said she would appeal the ruling.

“Everything that your honour and the attorney general said that we haven’t done – we have done,” attorney Alina Habba said in court. After a “very diligent” search, there were simply no more relevant documents to provide, she said.

Ms James, a Democrat, opened a civil inquiry in 2019 into claims that – before he took office – Mr Trump, a Republican, had inflated the value of his assets to banks when seeking loans.

Mr Trump and his family have denied wrongdoing, and the former president has called the inquiry a “witch hunt”. In court on Monday, Ms Habba called the civil probe as a “fishing expedition”.

Justice Engoron said a contempt finding was warranted because of what he called “repeated failures” to hand over the requested materials.

“Mr Trump… I know you take your business seriously, and I take mine seriously. I hereby hold you in civil contempt,” he said, although the former president was not in the courtroom.

The Attorney General’s office called the ruling a “major victory” in the legal battle against Mr Trump.

“Today, justice prevailed,” said Ms James. “For years, Donald Trump has tried to evade the law and stop our lawful investigation into him and his company’s financial dealings. Today’s ruling makes clear: No one is above the law”.

The civil case is separate to a Manhattan criminal investigation into the Trump Organization’s practices.

Source: BBC News

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