Judge gives Trump a 'reprimand for a cover-up' as he continues to flout the law: legal expert
Donald Trump speaks to a large crowd at "An Address to Young America" an event hosted by Students for Trump and Turning Point Action. (Nuno21 / Shutterstock.com)

In an op-ed for MSNBC, Loyola University law professor Jessica Levinson harkened back to the adage that it isn't the crime that gets someone in trouble legally -- it's typically the cover-up.

In this case, that's exactly what she thinks former President Donald Trump is doing in New York as he fights to hold back documents subpoenaed by Attorney General Letitia James.

Justice Arthur Engoron has ordered Trump to turn over the documents, but he is still refusing. So, the judge on Monday issued a $10,000 per-day fee until he does hand them to the AG or swears under oath he doesn't have anything else.

Levinson explained what Engoron found thus far is that Trump didn't commit fraud for which he is liable.

However, Levinson writes that the judge holding Trump in contempt is closer to a "reprimand for a cover-up" than the crime, which could be more dangerous for him.

"It keeps the public and law enforcement from knowing the truth," she explained. "It attempts to undermine investigations and possible punishments for wrongdoing. It fundamentally cuts at the fabric of our justice system. A member of the New York attorney general’s office said Trump did not hand over 'even a single responsive document' in response to a subpoena in December."

She went on to describe Trump's actions as his further lawless behavior, which has been standard his entire life. He consistently tries to delay, dodge or or even attack investigators. It's the same thing that happened in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, where Trump refused to give a deposition, despite the fact that he couldn't be charged with a crime under the Office of Legal Counsel's decision.

"Trump’s recalcitrance with respect to investigations serves dual purposes and unmasks him for who he is, someone with little to no regard for the rule of law," she said. "By failing to comply with subpoenas, Trump can delay investigations. This not only actually thwarts the ability of investigators to uncover the truth; it also makes it look as though investigations into Trump drag on. These are the actions of a man who not only dances outside the bounds of legal rules but actively tries to destroy the dance floor. That these are the actions of our former chief executive, charged with executing the laws of our country, should be a gut punch."

Read the rest of the column at MSNBC.

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