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Trump Says He’s Completely Immune from ‘the Criminal Process’ in Lawsuit to Keep Tax Returns Secret


Attorneys for President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit against Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) on Thursday morning. The basis of Trump’s legal argument is that he’s completely immune to criminal investigation.

The 20-page filing offers an array of citations–including a law review article written by then-judge Brett Kavanaugh in 2009–to put forward the notion that a sitting president simply cannot be arrested, investigated, imprisoned or detained while in office.

“Nor can he be investigated, indicted, or otherwise subjected to the criminal process,” the complaint reads.

This latest petition comes as part of a continued legal slog to keep the 45th president’s tax returns out of public sight.

“In response to the subpoenas issued by the New York County District Attorney, we have filed a lawsuit this morning in Federal Court on behalf of the President in order to address the significant constitutional issues at stake in this case,” said Trump’s longtime personal attorney Jay Sekulow–who is not listed as an attorney working on the case itself in Thursday’s federal court filing.

The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero.

Trump is being represented in the matter by attorneys Alan Futerfas, Marc Mukasey, Patrick Strawbridge and William Consovoy–the last of whom concurrently filed a pro hac vice motion in order to represent Trump on this lawsuit in New York State. Consovoy is currently licensed to practice law in Washington, D.C. and Virginia.

The attorneys are suing Vance in his official capacity on behalf of Trump in his private capacity as a citizen. Also named as a defendant in the lawsuit is global elite accounting firm Mazars USA, LLP. In August, Mazars was subpoenaed by Vance as part of the Manhattan District Attorney’s bid to unearth those ever-elusive tax returns.

The accounting firm said in a statement that it will “respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations.”

“We believe strongly in the ethical and professional rules and regulations that govern our industry, our work and our client interactions,” Mazars said. “As a matter of firm policy and professional rules we do not comment on the work we conduct for our clients.”

Vance’s office is said to be seeking Trump’s personal financial records for the past eight years–from 2011 to the present.

Law&Crime previously reported that Mazars has been served with congressional subpoenas in the ongoing legal fight for Trump’s tax returns which has halfheartedly been waged by House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.).

Neal has been heavily criticized by voters and left-wing activists in his home district for appearing to stall on the tax returns issue–including by his progressive primary challenger Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse.

This isn’t the first time President Trump has lawyered up to keep his tax returns from going public.

In late July of this year, attorneys from Consovoy McCarthy PLLC filed suit against the House Ways and Means Committee, New York Attorney General Letitia James and Commissioner of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Michael Schmidt.

Law&Crime reached out to each of the four attorneys noticed on the Thursday SDNY filing for this report but no response was forthcoming at the time of publication.

[Image via Zach Gibson/Getty Images]

Matt Naham contributed to this report.

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