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‘Wasting No Time,’ Judge in Trump Tax Return Case Orders Parties to Submit Argument Summaries Next Week


The federal judge presiding over the case between President Donald Trump and the Manhattan District Attorney told the parties on Friday to submit summaries of their proposed arguments to the court by Wednesday of next week. The order from U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero of the Southern District of New York (SDNY), which was issued without being prompted by either party’s attorneys, came just one day after the Supreme Court ruled that the president was not absolutely immune to a state subpoena.

“In accordance with the July 9, 2020 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the July 10, 2020 Mandate of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit remanding the case to this Court, the parties are hereby ordered to jointly inform the Court by the morning of July 15, 2020 whether further proceedings will be necessary in light of the dispositions by the Courts above,” Marrero wrote. “The parties’ joint submission should outline potential areas for further argument.”

Marrero, an appointee of President Barack Obama who replaced now-Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on the bench, previously dismissed the president’s lawsuit, which sought to stymie a subpoena from Manhattan DA Cy Vance to Trump’s accounting firm.

In his Oct. 2019 opinion, Marrero called Trump’s claim of “absolute immunity” from state criminal prosecution and grand jury proceedings “extraordinary,” reasoning that federal courts should abstain from interfering in state government functions, particularly pending criminal investigations.

Harry Sandick, the former Deputy Chief of Criminal Appeals for SDNY and a partner at New York-based law firm Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, noted that Marrero was “wasting no time” in resuming the proceedings.

In an email to Law&Crime, Sandick elaborated on the implications of the judge’s decision and how it may impact the timeline of the Vance case.

“The order means that Judge Marrero recognizes that this grand jury matter should be moved with pace and he wants the parties to identify any objections in the near term rather than to wait for a long period of time to present and resolve the documents,” Sandick said. “Statutes of limitation are not paused right now and Judge Marrero, like most judges, would like the dispute resolved as soon as possible. That said, assuming there is some briefing and even an appeal, it will still likely take several months more before the dispute is resolved.”

Vance has sought to obtain the president’s tax returns from Trump’s finance firm Mazars USA, as part of a criminal investigation of the Trump Organization (see: hush payments).

Read the full order below:

Marrero Order Trump v. Vance by Law&Crime on Scribd

[image via Doug Mills-Pool_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.