NEW YORK — Former President Donald Trump asked an appeals court to suspend his $10,000-a-day fine for contempt of court, saying in an interview that the judge in the case is “unfair.”

“We have a judge that frankly has been unbelievably unfair,” Trump said on the phone Monday, one week after state court Judge Arthur Engoron ruled the former president violated a court order by missing a March 31 deadline to respond to the state’s demand for records.

“We’ve given millions and millions of pages and he says give more, give more, always give more,” Trump said.

Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, asked a New York appellate court to place the fine on hold, calling it “patently improper and impermissible by law.” She insists that her client doesn’t have any personal records that are responsive to the subpoena.

Trump “performed a diligent, thorough and comprehensive search for all of the documents and items called for in the subpoena and provided complete and accurate responses to the” attorney general, Habba said in the filing.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, is investigating whether the Trump Organization for years used misleading asset valuations to get more favorable terms on loans, insurance and taxes. While the Trump Organization has turned over more than 6 million pages of records, the state argues that Trump needs to review his own records, as well as his cellphones, for any pertinent information.


James argues that a proper search of records held by the man leading the company is warranted because the fraud probe has already uncovered “significant” evidence of potential wrongdoing.

Delaney Kempner, a spokeswoman for James, declined to comment.

Trump, who is weighing a 2024 run for president, again claimed in the phone call that James was motivated by politics when she opened the investigation.

Trump last week filed a sworn affidavit in which he said that he wasn’t aware of any records that he needs to turn over. But the judge said that was insufficient.

Habba also filed an affidavit last week, explaining her personal effort to locate potentially relevant documents, including a search of filing cabinets on the 25th and 26th floors of Trump Tower and a storage room by his office. She also said she interviewed Trump at his Florida resort on March 17 and confirmed there were no responsive documents located there, at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club or at any of his homes.

“Given these circumstances, it is unconscionable and indefensible for appellant to be held in contempt in any manner, much less at the inordinate expense of $10,000 per day,” Habba said in Monday’s filing.


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