New York judge lifts contempt citation against Donald Trump and orders him to pay accumulated fines

New York judge lifts contempt citation against Donald Trump and orders him to pay accumulated fines
NEW YORK CITY - SEPTEMBER 3 2015: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump announced he had signed a pledge not to run as an independent candidate should he fail to win the party's 2016 nomination (Shutterstock).

A federal judge has lifted a contempt order that he imposed upon former President Donald Trump on April 25th, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

New York Supreme Court 1st Judicial District Judge Arthur Engoron told the ex-commander in chief on Monday that he has until May 20th to pay $110,000 in fines and comply with a subpoena for documents issued in December by Democratic New York Attorney General Letitia James, who has been conducting a civil bank and tax fraud investigation into the Trump Organization's business practices for nearly three years.

James has amassed troves of evidence that Trump and his associates engaged in "fraudulent and misleading" behavior by manipulating property values in order to secure loans and skirt taxes. Her probe is running concurrently with a criminal inquiry being led by Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg along the same avenues of interest.

Trump and his attorneys maintain that he is a victim of a political "witch hunt" and that James is engaging in racist attacks against him. They have also denied that Trump has acted in bad faith and intentionally withheld the requested materials from James and her team of prosecutors.

“All documents responsive to the subpoena were produced to the attorney general months ago,” Alina Habba, one of Trump's lawyers, told Engoron. “This does not even come close to meeting the standard on a motion for contempt.”

If Trump fails to pay or comply, the contempt charge will be reinstated, Engoron said.

James, meanwhile, lauded Engoron's decision as a long-overdue victory for justice and the rule of law.

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

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