President Donald Trump won a temporary stay of an earlier court ruling Monday to compel release of his tax returns to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York granted the motion due to “the unique issues raised by this appeal,” which had been filed by Trump’s lawyers in the morning seeking an answer by 1 p.m.
“The notion that the President would be subject to criminal process while he is challenging the constitutionality of that very process is self-refuting,” wrote Trump attorney Patrick Strawbridge. “Whether or not the Court ultimately agrees with the President’s constitutional challenge to the subpoena, he is entitled to appellate review before his papers are forcibly disclosed to a state grand jury.”
Earlier Monday, U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero had dismissed Trump’s lawsuit that sought to block Vance’s subpoena to obtain eight years of the president’s tax returns and other financial information, including payments made to former Trump attorney Michael Cohen.
An appeals court later issued an order staying enforcement of the subpoena, because of “the unique issues” raised by Trump’s attorneys’ appeal of the ruling.
Marrero called Trump’s assertion that he could not be enjoined into any legal proceedings while holding the office of president “an extraordinary claim” that would represent a “virtually limitless” shield from judicial process.
“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’s ruling said.
Trump had filed suit on Sept. 19 seeking to block the subpoena Vance had issued to Trump accountant Mazars, which the suit described as “an attempt to criminally investigate and prosecute the President…The subpoena, moreover, names the President, seeks his records, and was issued to his accountant for the purpose of circumventing his rights.”
Trump’s suit had also argued that Vance’s subpoena “precisely tracks” the House Oversight Committee’s subpoena for information to Mazars.
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