Trump Appeals Manhattan D.A. Subpoena Case, Seeks Reversal

Bob Van Voris
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Trump Appeals Manhattan D.A. Subpoena Case, Seeks Reversal

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump asked a federal appeals court to block his accounting firm from turning over his tax filings and other financial records to New York state prosecutors.

A federal judge in New York ruled Monday that Trump can’t stop his accountants, Mazars USA LLP, from providing eight years of taxes and other financial documents to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., whose office is investigating whether the Trump Organization falsified business records to disguise hush payments to two women who claimed they had sex with him.

Trump appealed and in less than two hours won a delay to give the appeals court in New York time for review. The delay postponed an imminent deadline for Mazars to begin turning records over to prosecutors. The court set an expedited schedule for the case, including a hearing set for Oct. 23.

The lower-court judge, Victor Marrero, called Trump’s claim of absolute immunity “repugnant” to the structure of the U.S. government and to the country’s constitutional values.

Read More: Trump Isn’t Immune From Demand for Tax Records, Judge Rules

Earlier Friday, a federal appeals court in Washington upheld a subpoena ordering Mazars to give his financial records to Congress. In a 2-1 decision, the court rejected arguments that the House Oversight and Reform Committee had no legitimate legislative reason to seek the information.

In the New York case, Marrero said that because it concerns a state grand jury subpoena, the issue should be decided by a state court. He also said Trump was unlikely to win on his Constitutional arguments.

In the brief filed Friday, Trump’s legal team argued that Vance’s case presents a “clash between the federal government and a state” that belongs in federal court. The Constitution gives him “absolute immunity” from state judicial process, according to the filing, including the grand jury demand for evidence. Trump is suing as an individual, not as president.

“That the Constitution empowers thousands of state and local prosecutors to embroil the President in criminal proceedings is unimaginable,” they said.

The U.S. Justice Department, which is supporting Trump in the suit, also filed a brief Friday, saying Marrero’s rulings “reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between the President and the state criminal process under our constitutional system of federalism.”

Danny Frost, a spokesman for Vance, declined to comment on the filing. Vance’s office is due to file papers on Tuesday responding to Trump’s arguments.

The case is Trump v. Vance, 19-03204, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (Manhattan).

(Updates with Justice Department filing)

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Van Voris in federal court in Manhattan at rvanvoris@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Glovin at dglovin@bloomberg.net

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