A federal judge in New York on Monday ruled President Trump’s accounting firm must turn over eight years of his personal and business tax returns, an order immediately put on hold by an appeals court.
The decision came in a lawsuit filed by Mr. Trump against Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and Mazars USA LLP, his longtime accounting firm. Mr. Trump sought to block a subpoena for his tax returns that state prosecutors sent to the accounting firm, saying it was unconstitutional to subject a sitting president to what he called the “criminal process.”
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Mr. Trump’s lawyers filed an emergency appeal minutes after the ruling, leading a judge from the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to put the ruling temporarily on hold “because of the unique issues raised by this appeal.” Mr. Vance’s office asked the court to hear arguments on the matter this week, but it isn’t clear when the panel will rule.
Mr. Vance’s office sent the subpoena to Mazars in August as part of its probe into whether payments made to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, and how these payments were recorded, violate a state law against falsifying business records.
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero rejected the idea that a president couldn’t be investigated while in office. “This Court cannot endorse such a categorical and limitless assertion of presidential immunity from judicial process,” wrote Judge Marrero, an appointee of President Bill Clinton.
The judge said he recognized that subjecting a president to certain criminal proceedings, such as imprisonment, would interfere with his official duties. But the idea that the president, his business entities, relatives and private activities are immune from any criminal process is too broad, he said.
“This Court finds aspects of such a doctrine repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional values,” Judge Marrero wrote.
Responding to the ruling on Twitter, Mr. Trump wrote, “The Radical Left Democrats have failed on all fronts, so now they are pushing local New York City and State Democrat prosecutors to go get President Trump. A thing like this has never happened to any President before. Not even close! “
The Radical Left Democrats have failed on all fronts, so now they are pushing local New York City and State Democrat prosecutors to go get President Trump. A thing like this has never happened to any President before. Not even close!28K people are talking about this
A spokesman for Mr. Vance, a Democrat, declined to comment. Within minutes of the ruling, lawyers for Mr. Trump appealed the decision to the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Last week, the Justice Department weighed in on the case, asking the judge to temporarily block enforcement of the subpoena to allow for further consideration of the legal issues. The Justice Department lawyers also said the dispute should remain in federal court, not state court as requested by Mr. Vance’s office.
In a letter to the judge, prosecutors from Mr. Vance’s office said delaying enforcement of the subpoena would likely result in the statute of limitations expiring for state crimes under consideration. They asked Judge Marrero to dismiss the case. “The Plaintiff’s only goal in this litigation, now supported by the DOJ itself, is to obtain as much delay as possible, through litigation, stays, and appeals,” the state prosecutors wrote.
The state probe comes on the heels of a federal investigation into hush-money payments that concluded this summer. Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to charges including violating campaign-finance laws as a result of that investigation, is now in federal prison.
Mr. Vance’s prosecutors have said the tax returns would remain confidential because they are part of a grand-jury proceeding. During a hearing, a lawyer for Mr. Trump said he didn’t think Mr. Vance’s office could make this promise.
“We do not know how the district attorney will respond to a subpoena from Congress,” said the lawyer, William Consovoy. “Would those secrecy laws trump that subpoena?”
Several disputes over Mr. Trump’s tax returns are making their way through federal courts.
Trump’s legal team filed a claim to stop a Manhattan D.A.’s subpoena of his tax returns that said the President cannot be prosecuted or investigated while in office. Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe tells Lawrence why Trump’s lawyers are wrong- and why the tax return subpoena cannot be stopped. Aired on 09/19/19.
Treasury Secretary Mnuchin denied that he violated the law by refusing to give Trump’s tax returns to Congress though a newly revealed IRS draft memo says he must. Attorney and IRS veteran William Lowrance joins Lawrence.
Trump’s reelection could be hurt by a new California law. Brett Erlich and Jayar Jackson break it down on The Damage Report. Follow The Damage Report on Facebook:
“SACRAMENTO — President Trump will be ineligible for California’s primary ballot next year unless he discloses his tax returns under a state law that took effect immediately Tuesday, an unprecedented mandate that is almost certain to spark a high-profile court fight and might encourage other states to adopt their own unconventional rules for presidential candidates. The law, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on the final day he could take action after it passed on a strict party-line vote in the Legislature earlier this month, requires all presidential candidates to submit five years of income tax filings. They must do so by late November to secure a spot on California’s presidential primary ballot in March. State elections officials will post the financial documents online, although certain private information must first be redacted. “As one of the largest economies in the world and home to one in nine Americans eligible to vote, California has a special responsibility to require this information of presidential and gubernatorial candidates,” Newsom said in a statement that accompanied his signature on the bill. “These are extraordinary times and states have a legal and moral duty to do everything in their power to ensure leaders seeking the highest offices meet minimal standards, and to restore public confidence. The disclosure required by this bill will shed light on conflicts of interest, self-dealing, or influence from domestic and foreign business interest.” Trump, who is not singled out by the law but is clearly its inspiration, is likely to fight back.”