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Trump should be held in contempt for ignoring subpoena: N.Y. attorney general

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New York’s attorney general on Thursday asked a state judge to hold Donald Trump in contempt of court for not turning over documents she subpoenaed for her civil probe into the former U.S. president’s business practices.

In a court filing, Attorney General Letitia James said Trump failed to honor a court order that he comply “in full” with her subpoena for documents and information by March 31.

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James asked that Trump be fined US$10,000 a day, and perhaps more, until he complies.

“The judge’s order was crystal clear: Donald J. Trump must comply with our subpoena and turn over relevant documents to my office,” James said in a statement. “Instead of obeying a court order, Mr. Trump is trying to evade it.”

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Lawyers for Trump did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, and called the probe a “witch hunt.”

James’ three-year probe and a parallel criminal probe led by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg have focused on whether the Trump Organization misstated the values of its real estate properties to obtain favorable loans and tax deductions.

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Last week, James said her probe had found “significant evidence” suggesting that for more than a decade the company’s financial statements “relied on misleading asset valuations and other misrepresentations to secure economic benefits.”

Justice Arthur Engoron of the New York state court in Manhattan on Feb. 17 ordered Trump to comply with the subpoena, and for Trump and his adult children Donald Trump Jr and Ivanka Trump to be questioned under oath.

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The Trumps have asked a state appeals court to overturn the ruling requiring their testimony.

In a March 31 court filing, a lawyer for the former president objected to the subpoena, saying it was “grossly overbroad,” was unduly burdensome, and sought information protected by attorney-client or executive privilege.

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James countered on Thursday that Engoron’s order was not an “opening bid” entitling Trump to renegotiate or resume challenging the subpoena.

“The ship has long since sailed on Mr. Trump’s ability to raise any such objections,” she wrote.

Last week, the Trumps called James’ probe “a politically-motivated gambit that was commenced in bad faith,” and intended to advance her career at their expense.

James, a Democrat, is seeking reelection in November. Republican Trump may seek a second White House term in 2024.

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The civil probe is progressing amid uncertainty over Bragg’s criminal probe, following the resignation in February of the two prosecutors who had led it.

According to the New York Times Bragg, who inherited the criminal probe from fellow Democrat Cyrus Vance Jr upon taking office in January, has expressed doubts about pursuing charges against Trump.

(Reporting by Karen Freifeld and Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Chris Reese and Bill Berkrot)

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