Donald Trump is finally facing postpresidential consequences in a court of law — just on a very small scale. On Monday, New York Supreme Court justice Arthur F. Engoron held the former president in contempt for refusing to provide documents related to a subpoena issued by state attorney general Letitia James, who is conducting a civil fraud probe into the Trump Organization. Trump will now have to pay $10,000 every day he does not give over the documents, some of which include sticky notes with messages to aides. Trump’s attorney on the case, Alina Habba, is expected to file an appeal.
While James said the decision proved “no one is above the law,” Trump won’t have much difficulty cushioning this blow. According to the latest Forbes tally, Trump is currently worth about $3 billion. For him, the $10,000 daily fine is equivalent to a four-cents-a-day toll on a family with the median U.S. household wealth of $121,700.
Engoron’s ruling comes days after James’s office urged him to hold their subject in contempt to “put an end to Mr. Trump’s intransigence and subterfuge,” as attorneys at the AG’s office wrote Friday. Investigators are still waiting on data from subpoenaed personal and company phones used by Trump as well as documents that could show involvement in his company’s dealings, including papers “located in cabinets outside Mr. Trump’s office” and the “storage room by Mr. Trump’s office.” They are also seeking Post-it notes used by Trump to “communicate with his employees,” according to a filing in January. James’s office claimed in February that their investigation into the company’s alleged practice of inflating assets to seek out loans had found evidence “showing that Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization used fraudulent and misleading financial statements to obtain economic benefit.”