Tuesday, 1 September 2020

BREAKING NEWS: Donald Trump wins three-week reprieve from handing tax returns to Manhattan prosecutors as he tries to stop 'arbitrary fishing expedition'

A federal appeals court on Tuesday blocked a New York prosecutor from obtaining Donald Trump's tax returns while the president's lawyers continue to fight a subpoena seeking the records. The three-judge panel ruled after hearing brief arguments from both sides.
Trump's lawyers had asked for a temporary stay while they appeal a lower-court ruling that granted Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.'s office access to Trump's tax returns. A lawyer for Vance's office had argued that further delays would only impede their investigation.
'The question at this juncture is quite simple but also quite important,' Trump lawyer William Consovoy said. 
'Will the president be given an opportunity to appeal that ruling before his personal records are disclosed to the grand jury and the status quo is irrevocably changed?'
A hearing on the merits of Trump's latest appeal will be held on Sept. 25 after both sides agreed to an expedited schedule - meaning it's possible the matter could be decided before November's election.
New round in taxes battle: Donald Trump's lawyers filed their case with federal appeals court judges in a bid to stop Cy Vyance Jr., the Manhattan D.A., getting access to his taxes
New round in taxes battle: Donald Trump's lawyers filed their case with federal appeals court judges in a bid to stop Cy Vyance Jr., the Manhattan D.A., getting access to his taxes
New round in taxes battle: Donald Trump's lawyers filed their case with federal appeals court judges in a bid to stop Cy Vyance Jr., the Manhattan D.A., getting access to his taxes
Trump wins delay in handing over taxes for DA's criminal probe
Loaded: 0%
Progress: 0%
0:00
Previous
Play
Skip
Mute
Current Time0:00
/
Duration Time2:04
Fullscreen
Need Text
Trump´s lawyers appealed to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last month after a district court judge rejected their renewed efforts to invalidate a subpoena issued to his accounting firm. Judge John M. Walker Jr. said at Tuesday's hearing that the subpoenas cover 11 entities engaged in business dealings as far away as Europe and Dubai.
Trump has blasted the long-running quest for his financial records as a 'continuation of the most disgusting witch hunt in the history of our country' and predicted the case would again end up before the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court ruled last month that the presidency in itself doesn´t shield Trump from Vance´s investigation, but the high court returned the case to U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero´s courtroom to allow Trump´s lawyers to raise other concerns about the subpoena.
Trump's lawyers then argued that the subpoena was issued in bad faith and overly broad, might have been politically motivated and amounted to harassment. Marrero rejected those claims. Consovoy told the judges Tuesday that the investigation was an 'arbitrary fishing expedition.'
Carey Dunne, of the district attorney's office, said Trump and his lawyers have long misrepresented the scope of the investigation as focusing primarily on hush money payments that were paid to protect Trump from adultery allegations. 
'Vance's lawyers have said they are legally entitled to extensive records to aid a 'complex financial investigation.'

A page from Trump's 1995 tax records
A page from Trump's 1995 tax records
'The president has complained at every turn that we've not announced what the grand jury is looking at as if that itself is bad faith,' Dunne said. 
'But of course, what the grand jury is looking at is secret. We're not allowed to make that public, which is what has led to his speculation about the grand jury scope. But none of this speculation is plausible.'
Even if Vance does get Trump's tax records, those would be part of a confidential grand jury investigation and not automatically be made public.
Vance, a Democrat, began seeking the Republican president´s tax returns from his longtime accounting firm over a year ago, after Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen told Congress that the president had misled tax officials, insurers and business associates about the value of his assets.
Congress is also pursuing Trump´s financial records, though the Supreme Court last month kept a hold on the banking and other documents that Congress has been seeking and returned the case to a lower court.
Trump is the only modern president who has refused to release his tax returns. Before he was elected, he had promised to do so.
The district attorney is seeking eight years of tax returns from Trump's longtime accounting firm Mazars USA in connection with a criminal probe of the president's business practices.
Trump has fought the subpoena for a year. He suffered a defeat in July when the Supreme Court rejected his claim of immunity from criminal probes while in the White House.
The tax returns are unlikely to become public before the Nov. 3 presidential election. Vance has said the continued litigation has effectively given Trump the 'temporary absolute immunity' that courts have rejected.
On Aug. 20, U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero refused for a second time to block the subpoena, saying 'justice requires an end to this controversy.'
But Monday's filing said Trump was not resurrecting his broad immunity claim, arguing instead that the subpoena was overbroad and issued in bad faith, and that Vance should have to show why its contents were relevant to his probe.
'The District Attorney should not have been allowed to 'run roughshod' over the President in his pursuit of claims that the Supreme Court held he could raise,' the filing said.
The filing said enforcing the subpoena would cause Trump irreparable harm.
'It is disclosure of these records to the government--not just to the public--that causes injury,' it said. 
Marrero has refused multiple times to block the subpoena. The U.S. Supreme Court last month upheld one of his rulings, finding that the presidency in itself doesn't shield Trump from Vance's investigation.
But the high court returned the case to Marrero's courtroom to allow Trump´s lawyers to raise other concerns about the subpoena. They did, arguing that it was issued in bad faith, might have been politically motivated and amounted to harassment.
The DA's investigation covers records in the time frame a hush money payoff was given to porn star Stormy Daniels, who said she had an affair with Trump; the president has denied the allegation
The DA's investigation covers records in the time frame a hush money payoff was given to porn star Stormy Daniels, who said she had an affair with Trump; the president has denied the allegation
Playboy teases 'Freedom of Expression' issue with Stormy Daniels
Loaded: 0%
Progress: 0%
0:00
Previous
Play
Skip
Mute
Current Time0:00
/
Duration Time1:00
Fullscreen
Need Text
Vance's attorneys countered that they were entitled to extensive records to aid a 'complex financial investigation,' citing public reports of 'extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization.'
Those arguments led to this week's flurry of rulings and appeals.
Trump blasted the long-running quest for his financial records Thursday as a 'continuation of the most disgusting witch hunt in the history of our country.'
Vance, a Democrat, began seeking the Republican president's tax returns from his longtime accounting firm over a year ago, after Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen told Congress that the president had misled tax officials, insurers and business associates about the value of his assets.
The president has said he expects the case to end up back before the Supreme Court.
Even if the tax records ultimately are subpoenaed, they would not automatically be made public, as they are being sought as part of a confidential grand jury investigation.
Congress is also pursuing Trump´s financial records, though the Supreme Court last month kept a hold on the banking and other documents that Congress has been seeking and returned the case to a lower court.
Trump is the only modern president who has refused to release his tax returns. Before he was elected, he had promised to do so.
Trump had called the case a 'witch hunt' when he spoke to reporters last Thursday in the Oval Office at the White House. 
'Well, the Supreme Court said if it's a fishing expedition, you don't have to do it, and this is a fishing expedition. But more importantly, this is a continuation of the witch hunt, the greatest witch hunt in history,' he said.
'There's never been anything like it, where people want to examine everything you've ever done to see if they can find that there's a comma out of place. No president has ever had to go through this,' he added.
The president predicted the case would end up back in the hands of the Supreme Court, which last month ruled the president could not claim immunity in the case and sent it back to the lower court.
'We'll probably end up back in the Supreme Court. But this is just a continuation of the most hideous witch hunt in the history of our country,' he added.
Trump complained prosecutor want to 'inspect every deal he's ever done.' 
'This is the ultimate fishing expedition. Nobody has anything. We don't do things wrong. 
'But they'll say let's go in and inspect every deal he's ever done. Let's get papers from 10 years - every paper, every deal he's ever signed, maybe we can find with some lawyer made a mistake, where they didn't dot an 'i' where didn't put a comma down someplace, and then we can do something. This is a disgrace. This should never ever be allowed to happen again,' he said.  

Post a comment

Start typing and press Enter to search