A federal judge in Manhattan on Monday threw out President Trump’s lawsuit attempting to block the Manhattan DA’s Office from getting its hands on years of his financial records — meaning he could be forced to turn over his long-sought tax returns.
Trump sued last month to stop Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance’s office from enforcing a subpoena for eight years of his personal and corporate financial documents — including tax returns — as part of a criminal grand jury investigation.
Lawyers for the president argued their client was protected by total immunity while in office. But Manhattan federal Judge Victor Marrero disagreed, potentially paving the way for prosecutors to enforce subpoenas served on Trump’s accounting firm Mazars USA.
“This Court cannot endorse such a categorical and limitless assertion of presidential immunity,” Marrero wrote in a 75-page ruling. “The Court cannot square a vision of presidential immunity that would place the President above the law with the text of the Constitution.”
The judge shunned the idea that Trump could be afforded the sort of absolute immunity other countries give monarchs and called that argument “repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional values.”
“The interest the President asserts in maintaining the confidentiality of certain personal financial and tax records that relate largely to a time before he assumed office, and that may involve unlawful conduct by third parties and possibly the President, is far outweighed by the interests of state law enforcement officers and the federal courts in ensuring the full, fit, and effective administration of justice,” the judge ruled.
Lawyers for Trump immediately filed an emergency appeal with the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
They’re asking the appeals panel to reinstate the lawsuit and issue a temporary restraining order that would prohibit Vance’s office from executing the subpoenas on Mazars.
Vance’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment as to whether they would begin enforcing the subpoenas immediately.
It previously agreed to stay enforcement until either Marrero’s ruling was issued or 1 p.m. Monday.