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Federal Judge: Manhattan DA Can Enforce Subpoena for Trump’s Tax Returns; the President Is Not a King


A federal judge on Monday denied President Donald Trump’s request to stop Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance from enforcing subpoenas demanding Trump’s tax returns.

In a 75-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero rejected the President’s petition on the basis that it asserts an “extraordinary claim” of presidential immunity from virtually all criminal proceedings.

“The President asserts an extraordinary claim in the dispute now before this Court,” Marrero wrote. “He contends that, in his view of the President’s duties and functions and the allocation of governmental powers between the executive and the judicial branches under the united States Constitution, the person who serves as President, while in office enjoys absolute immunity from criminal process of any kind.”

Marrero wrote that the reach of such an argument would undoubtedly place any sitting president above the law.

“As the Court reads it, presidential immunity would stretch to cover every phase of the criminal proceedings, including investigations, grand jury proceedings and subpoenas, indictment, prosecution, arrest, trial, conviction, and incarceration,” he said. “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 judge went so far as to note that Trump is not a king.

Trump filed initially filed the lawsuit seeking an injunction against the District Attorney’s subpoena demanding the President’s accounting firm Mazars USA turn over his personal and corporate tax returns dating back to 2011. The subpoena came as part of a State investigation into whether the Trump and the Trump Organization violated state law with hush payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Attorneys representing President Trump in his lawsuit on Friday told Marrero that if he did not issue a ruling in the case by Monday morning, they would have no choice but to appeal the case directly to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. In light of Monday’s decision, Trump’s attorneys are expected to file an appeal with the Second Circuit before day’s end.

You can read their emergency notice of appeal, and the lengthy opinion and order below.

UPDATE: The Second Circuit has issued a temporary stay.

Trump Emergency Notice of A… by Law&Crime on Scribd

Victor Marrero opinion in T… by Law&Crime on Scribd

[image via Mark Wilson_Getty Images]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.