The Second Circuit Court of Appeals appeared likely Tuesday to further delay Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s demand for President Trump’s tax returns.
The three-judge panel wrestled with how to interpret the Supreme Court’s historic decision, issued in July, ruling that Trump was not entitled to broad immunity from criminal investigation while in the Oval Office. That decision left room for Trump to pursue different arguments against Vance’s subpoena, including that the demand was overly broad.
“It has the feeling of overbreadth, but there’s no way to measure it,” Appeals Judge John Walker said during a Tuesday hearing of Vance’s demands. “That’s the problem I have.”
More delay would allow time for further analysis of whether Vance’s subpoena for documents was properly tailored, Walker hinted.
Other appeals judges seemed open to a schedule that would fast-track the case. A decision is expected by the end of day.
Trump’s legal team seeks to extend the freeze on Vance’s subpoena while he pursues yet another appeal. The lower court ruled in August that it was time for Trump to comply with Vance’s demand, just as any other citizen would.
“Justice requires an end to this controversy,” Judge Victor Marrero wrote.
Vance served the subpoena on Trump’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars, last year. The demand sought eight years of Trump’s tax returns in connection with an investigation of how the Trump Organization accounted for hush money payments to women in the 2016 presidential election. The women claim to have had affairs with Trump, which he denies.
Breaking with precedent set by his predecessors, Trump has not publicly released his taxes.
Court filings have hinted that Vance’s probe may go beyond the hush money payments and include a probe of possible insurance and bank fraud, among other financial crimes.
Trump has succeeded in stalling Vance’s investigation for nearly a year. First, the president argued he was entitled to broad immunity from criminal investigation while in the Oval Office. The Supreme Court rejected that claim.
“No citizen, not even the president, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote.
The case returned to Manhattan Federal Court and Trump brought arguments that Vance was on a bad-faith fishing expedition. He lost again.
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