Of the many lawsuits and investigations launched against President Trump on a seemingly daily basis, one of the less discussed ones has been unfolding in the state of New York. The Manhattan D.A.’s office has been seeking eight years of both personal and business tax returns from Trump as part of an investigation that’s never been very clearly spelled out for the public. Still, a grand jury was convinced to make the request for the returns over a month ago and the President’s legal team has been fighting it ever since.
Today, the judge in the case threw out the objection from Trump’s lawyers. They had claimed that the President had virtually full immunity from prosecution while in office. Obviously, the judge disagreed. (NBC News)
A federal judge Monday rejected President Donald Trump’s claim that he was immune from criminal investigations as part of his bid to block a subpoena from the Manhattan district attorney seeking eight years of personal and business tax returns.
The judge, Victor Marrero, tossed the lawsuit Trump’s legal team brought against District Attorney Cyrus Vance that argued Vance should not receive Trump’s tax returns because “‘[v]irtually all legal commenters agree’ that a sitting President of the United States is not ‘subject to the criminal process’ while he is in office.”
In a 75-page order, Marrero called the presidential immunity Trump invoked in the lawsuit to stop the production of tax documents “unqualified and boundless.”
Judge Marrero (a Clinton appointee) serves in the Southern District of New York, where many of the lawsuits and charges aimed at the President originate. His assertion that claims of presidential immunity are “unqualified and boundless” will be interesting to evaluate on appeal. The question of whether or not the President really is immune from any form of prosecution or arrest while serving in office is an old one that’s been argued for as long as the republic has existed. You can find legal scholars both agreeing and disagreeing, sometimes depending on which party currently holds power.
Of course, it might be more useful to know precisely what they’re thinking of charging Trump with. Thus far, all of the statements released from the DA’s office simply claim that the matter is related to “payments made to two women who allegedly had affairs with the president.” If these were payments made as part of more NDAs lurking in Trump’s closet, I’m not sure what criminal charges they could be referring to unless we’re bringing back New York’s old blue laws against adultery.
Either way, now that the judge has kicked Trump’s motion, his legal team will need to move fast if they want to avoid the document dump. One journalist from Bloomberg stated earlier today that the appeal would need to be filed almost immediately under the terms of a previous agreement. Otherwise, the documents would start flowing to the court in a matter of days if not hours.
As it turns out, Trump’s team got the appeal filed in no time flat and a judge has already granted an extension.
MORE: Court grants Trump temporary stay of enforcement of tax returns subpoena
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) October 7, 2019