- A federal appeals court on Monday struck down President Donald Trump’s attempt to block New York state prosecutors from getting his tax returns.
- The three-judge panel on the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York rejected Trump’s argument that he is immune from criminal prosecution and investigation while he is the president.
- The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office subpoenaed eight years of Trump’s taxes from his accounting firm as part of an investigation into whether the Trump Organization broke state law by fabricating business records.
- Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow said after the ruling that the president would ask the Supreme Court to take up the case.
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A federal appeals court ruled on Monday that President Donald Trump’s accounting firm must turn over his tax returns to New York state prosecutors.
The three-judge panel on the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York rejected Trump’s argument that he is immune from criminal investigation and prosecution while he is the president.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office subpoenaed eight years of Trump’s corporate and personal taxes as part of an investigation into whether the Trump Organization violated New York laws by fabricating business records connected to hush-money payments made to women who said they had affairs with Trump.
Trump’s lawyers sought to block the subpoena on the broad and legally dubious claim that while he’s in office, Trump is immune from not just criminal prosecution but investigation as well.
Last month, one of the three appeals court judges expressed skepticism toward that argument and alluded to Trump’s statement before the 2016 election that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and still not lose any supporters.
When Judge Denny Chin pressed Trump’s lawyer William Consovoy about the limits of presidential immunity and referred to “the Fifth Avenue example,” Consovoy argued that local law-enforcement authorities could not investigate Trump even if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue.
While Trump is in office, “nothing can be done – that’s your position?” Chin asked Consovoy.
“That is correct. That is correct,” Consovoy replied.
In Monday’s ruling, the appeals court panel said Trump’s lawyers would very likely appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court. Indeed, Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow said after the ruling that the president’s team would ask the Supreme Court to take up the case.
When Trump first sued to block the subpoena of his accounting firm Mazars USA, the judge in the case said the president’s legal team was making an “extraordinary” reach that was “repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional values.”
US District Judge Victor Marrero wrote in his ruling that Trump’s argument implied that “the constitutional dimensions of the presidential shield from judicial process are virtually limitless.”
Until the president leaves office, “his exemption from criminal proceedings would extend not only to matters arising from the performance of the President’s duties and functions in his official capacity, but also to ones arising from his private affairs, financial transactions, and all other conduct undertaken by him as an ordinary citizen both during and before his tenure in office,” the ruling said.