Should Have Been Jail

A New York state judge on Monday held Donald J. Trump in contempt of court for failing to comply with a subpoena from the state attorney general’s office, an extraordinary rebuke of the former president that came as that office suggested it might soon file a long-threatened lawsuit against him.

The judge, Arthur F. Engoron, ordered Mr. Trump to fully respond to the subpoena from the attorney general, Letitia James — who sought records from the former president about his family business — and assessed a fine of $10,000 per day until he satisfied the court’s requirements.

“Mr. Trump: I know you take your business seriously, and I take mine seriously,” said Justice Engoron, before he held Mr. Trump in contempt and banged his gavel.

The contempt order amounted to a judicial condemnation of Mr. Trump’s signature tactic — stonewalling litigation and law enforcement investigations that he has derided as politically motivated, sometimes for years. That practice has helped him emerge from several inquiries largely unscathed, stymieing a legion of prosecutors, regulators and congressional investigators seeking to hold him to account.

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