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Old 08-03-2020, 12:20 PM
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Arrow Trump Again Tries to Block Subpoena for Taxes, Calling It ‘Wildly Overbroad’

Trump Again Tries to Block Subpoena for Taxes, Calling It ‘Wildly Overbroad’
By: Benjamin Weiser & William K. Rashbaum - The New York Times

President Trump on Monday mounted his most forceful and detailed legal attack yet on the subpoena for his tax returns by the Manhattan district attorney, arguing the request was “wildly overbroad” and “issued in bad faith,” a new court filing shows.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers asked a federal judge in Manhattan to declare that the subpoena from the district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., a Democrat, was “invalid and unenforceable.”

They also asked that the judge issue an order barring Mr. Vance from “taking any action to enforce” the subpoena — which sought years of tax and other financial records from his accountants — and that he block Mr. Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, from turning over any of the information.

“The Mazars subpoena is so sweeping that it amounts to an unguided and unlawful fishing expedition into the President’s personal financial and business dealings,” the lawyers wrote.

Mr. Trump’s arguments came just weeks after the Supreme Court cleared the way for Manhattan prosecutors to seek his financial records, in a decision that was seen as a major defeat for Mr. Trump and a statement on the limits of presidential power.

Mr. Vance had subpoenaed Mr. Trump’s accounting firm last August for eight years of his personal tax returns and those of his family business as part of an investigation into hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, an adult-film actress who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump.

“What the president’s lawyers are seeking here is delay,” Carey R. Dunne, a senior lawyer in Mr. Vance’s office, told the lower court judge, Victor Marrero, in a hearing on July 16. “I think that’s the entire strategy here.”

Mr. Dunne said that the longer Mr. Trump fought the case, the greater the likelihood that the statute of limitations would expire for any possible crimes that might have been committed.

“Let’s not let delay kill this case,” Mr. Dunne told Judge Marrero at the hearing.

Jay Sekulow, one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, denied the accusation at the time. “Our strategy seeks due process,” he said in an email.

Mr. Vance’s prosecutors have argued that Judge Marrero has already decided most of the issues Mr. Trump has raised. Last October, the judge wrote a 75-page opinion that rejected the president’s argument that he was immune from all investigations.

In that ruling, Mr. Vance’s office has argued that Judge Marrero found there was no demonstrated bad faith or harassment in Mr. Vance’s decision to issue the subpoena, and that the judge rejected Mr. Trump’s claim that there was evidence of any motive other than enforcement of the law.

Mr. Vance’s office has been looking into whether any New York State laws were broken in connection with the hush-money payments arranged in 2016 for Ms. Daniels and another woman by Michael D. Cohen, the president’s former lawyer and fixer. Mr. Cohen later pleaded guilty to federal campaign finance violations for his role in the payments, and was sentenced to a three years in prison.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers, in the new court filing, said they had initially cooperated with the district attorney’s investigation, turning over hundreds of documents in response to an earlier subpoena the prosecutors had issued to the Trump Organization.

But the president’s lawyers said they balked when they learned, during negotiations over the scope of the first subpoena, that the prosecutors believed it also covered Mr. Trump’s tax returns.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers said that Mr. Vance’s office then retaliated by issuing a new subpoena to the accounting firm in an effort to “circumvent the president.”

In arguing that the subpoena was overly broad, Mr. Trump’s lawyers said that it demanded “voluminous documents related to every facet of the business and financial affairs of the President and numerous associated entities — from the banal to the complex, from drafts and memoranda to formal records, from source documents to summaries.”

“Simply put,” they added, “it asks for everything.”

Even if the subpoena is ultimately enforced and Mr. Vance’s office obtains the records, they are unlikely to become public anytime soon. The records would be covered by grand jury secrecy rules and might only emerge if charges were later filed and they were introduced in a trial.

About the writer(s): Benjamin Weiser is a reporter covering the Manhattan federal courts. He has long covered criminal justice, both as a beat and investigative reporter. Before joining The Times in 1997, he worked at The Washington Post. @BenWeiserNYT

William K. Rashbaum is a senior writer on the Metro desk, where he covers political and municipal corruption, courts, terrorism and broader law enforcement topics. He was a part of the team awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news.


Personal note: If Trump has nothing to hide let them do their thing and get it done. Procrastinating only make him look more guilty and I'm sure there's much more to be learned by them being reviewed.


O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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