Politico

Trump effort to block subpoena for his financial docs would ‘impair’ probes, Manhattan DA says


Manhattan prosecutors on Thursday said President Donald Trump’s last-ditch attempts to block a subpoena for the president’s financial records are increasingly meritless and would only serve to “significantly impair” an ongoing investigation into potential financial crimes.

“Continued delay of the grand jury’s investigation is unwarranted, and it would significantly impair the Office’s ability to discharge its constitutionally protected duty to investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute violations of New York law,” Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. wrote in a filing with the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, urging the court to reject Trump’s demand for additional delay.

Vance’s filing follows a lower court decision to reject Trump’s latest effort to block the subpoena of his accounting firm, Mazars USA, that Vance subpoenaed last year as part of a wide-ranging investigation of the Trump Organization. District Court Judge Victor Marrero said Trump’s latest effort to delay the Vance subpoena was groundless and that delay would no longer serve the interests of justice.

The parties are set to argue the matter before an appeals court panel on Sept. 1.

The Supreme Court ruled last month that Trump does not have blanket immunity from state or local criminal investigations, effectively blessing Vance’s probe, but it said Trump had the opportunity to challenge the Mazars subpoena for more specific defects. Trump quickly pivoted, challenging the subpoena on grounds that it was overbroad and issued in bad faith, contentions that Marrero roundly rejected.

“Justice requires an end to this controversy,” Marrero wrote earlier this month.


Thursday’s filing from Vance underscores the legal peril facing Trump and his company just hours before he accepts the nomination for a second term as president. If the appeals court rejects Trump’s request for a stay, Trump is likely to appeal the decision, either to the full appeals court or to the Supreme Court.

In his filing with the appeals court, Vance said Trump’s latest effort to block his subpoena no longer offered serious arguments.

“The [complaint] no longer contains difficult questions of constitutional law,” his office argued. “Although filed by the President, the [complaint] is no more than a run-of-the-mill attack on a presumptively legitimate grand jury subpoena.”

In addition, his office argued that the lengthy delay to allow the matter to wind to the Supreme Court had effectively granted Trump the immunity from investigation to which the Supreme Court said he was not entitled.

“The Office previously agreed to forbear enforcement of the Mazars Subpoena to ensure courts had time to review the constitutional issues raised by Appellant’s claim of absolute immunity. That forbearance imposed real costs on the Office—for nearly an entire year, the grand jury’s investigation has been substantially hampered,” Vance’s team wrote.

Trump’s team also argued that the production of the president’s financial records to the district attorney could damage the confidentiality of his finances. But Vance rejected this argument as well, noting that any documents produced to a grand jury are subject to strict secrecy. And even if they weren’t, Vance argues, Trump’s team never explains why his financial records “should be treated as confidential.”

“Many of the records covered by the Mazars Subpoena have already been produced to federal and state tax authorities. And ‘the past six presidents, dating back to President Carter, all voluntarily released their tax returns to the public,'” he notes, citing earlier filings in the case.

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