Federal court orders Trump to turn over tax returns to NY prosecutors

(Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

President Trump’s legal team announced that a federal court decision on his tax returns being turned over to New York prosecutors will be appealed to the Supreme Court.

The president’s attorneys addressed a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which requires he turn over eight years of tax returns, saying in a statement on Monday that “constitutional issues” are at stake and an appeal will be made to the high court.

“The decision of the Second Circuit will be taken to the Supreme Court. The issue raised in this case goes to the heart of our Republic,” Jay Sekulow, counsel to the president, said. “The constitutional issues are significant.”

A subpoena from a state grand jury for the president’s accounting records was not blocked by the Second Circuit court Monday, dismissing what U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero described as Trump’s “categorical and limitless assertion of presidential immunity.”

“We hold, however, that any presidential immunity from state criminal process does not extend to investigative steps like the grand jury subpoena at issue here,” the ruling read.

“We accordingly AFFIRM the district court’s decision on the immunity question, which we construe as an order denying a preliminary injunction, VACATE the judgment of the district court dismissing the complaint on the ground of Younger abstention, and REMAND for further proceedings consistent with this opinion,” it continued.

In September, Trump sued Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., a Democrat, arguing that a subpoena to the accounting firm Mazars USA was “unconstitutional.”

“Because the Mazars subpoena attempts to criminally investigate a sitting president, it is unconstitutional,” the court papers argued. “This court should declare it invalid and enjoin its enforcement until the president is no longer in office.”

Vance was seeking the tax returns as part of a criminal investigation into the president and his family’s real estate business. Trump has continued to fight to keep his tax returns, that precede his time as president, from being released publicly.

But at the beginning of last month, Marrero dismissed Trump’s argument, slamming the claims of immunity.

“As the Court reads it, presidential immunity would stretch to cover every phase of criminal proceedings, including investigations, grand jury proceedings and subpoenas, indictment, prosecution, arrest, trial, conviction, and incarceration,” Marrero wrote in that decision. “That constitutional protection presumably would encompass any conduct, at any time, in any forum, whether federal or state, and whether the President acted alone or in concert with other individuals.”

The president’s attorneys then appealed to the Second Circuit and the three-judge appeals panel, in a unanimous ruling, stated that the tax returns have to be turned over to the state grand jury.

Trump announced last week that he had changed his permanent residence from New York to Florida, blaming New York’s political leaders for treating him “very badly” over the years despite the millions in taxes he has paid.

While many of the president’s critics celebrated the court’s decision on Monday, others on social media blasted the ongoing maneuvers against the president.

Frieda Powers

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