NBC News reports some expected news today, Trump loses on tax subpoena, another legal setback:
A federal appeals court declined Wednesday to block a subpoena from a New York grand jury for several years’ worth of President Donald Trump’s tax records, a further legal setback in his efforts to keep his returns out of the hands of state prosecutors.
A three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals denied an effort by Trump’s lawyers to have the subpoena tossed out on the grounds that it was too broad or was politically motivated and issued in bad faith.
“The President’s allegations of bad faith fail to raise a plausible inference that the subpoena was issued out of malice or an intent to harass,” the court said.
The president’s lawyers will now likely ask the U.S. Supreme Court to block enforcement of the subpoena while they file an appeal.
Read the Opinion (Scribd).
The Supreme Court made it pretty clear back in June when it remanded this case back to the trial court with instructions to conduct a hearing based upon the usual objections to a subpoena – rejecting Trump’s “absolute immunity” argument – that it would not be inclined to stay the subpoena if the trial court followed its instructions. I would be surprised if the court granted a stay and entertained another appeal in this case on a procedural matter that is well within the discretion of the trial court. The constitutional questions raised by Trump have already resolved by the Court in June.
Totally predictable. Trump’s arguments here are so weak. He’s just trying to stall past the election. The Supreme Court shouldn’t let him https://t.co/QtRS0SOCea
— Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) October 7, 2020
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance has agreed not to enforce it for now, giving Trump’s legal team a chance to ask the justices for an order temporarily blocking it while the court decides if it will take up the appeal.
Law & Crime adds:
Vance has said he will decline to enforce his once-again legally-valid subpoena for 12 days to allow the president time to appeal the decision once again to the Supreme Court. That timeline likely puts the eventual enforcement of the subpoena against Mazars–and the release of Trump’s tax returns–beyond the date of the upcoming general election on November 3, which means the appellate ruling is a long-term legal loss but a short-term political victory for the president.
Vance is seeking eight years of tax returns for a grand jury investigation of hush money payments and other financial transactions.
The investigation began after it was disclosed that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about her claim that she had an affair with Trump, an allegation he has denied. Cohen also told Congress that the Trump organization sometimes lied about its financial condition in order to evade taxes or obtain favorable loan terms.
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Because of grand jury secrecy, Vance has not revealed exactly what his office is investigating. But he hinted at the scope of his work in recent court filings.
“The investigation concerns a variety of business transactions and is based on information derived from public sources, confidential informants, and the grand jury process” and could include falsifying business records, insurance fraud and tax fraud.
The Supreme Court should quickly deny the writ of appeal in this case, but who can say for certain? The Manhattan District Attorney’s office should get access to Trump’s financial records before the end of this year.