Trump Loses Appeal to Block Subpoena for His Tax Records

Trump Loses Appeal to Block Subpoena for His Tax Records

The Manhattan district attorney can obtain President Donald Trump's tax returns a federal appeals court ruled, dealing the president another setback in his effort to shield his tax returns from prosecutors but the case is heading to the Supreme Court in a further delay of the investigation.

The court also said enforcement of the subpoena could be stayed, as agreed to by the parties, should Trump appeal to the US Supreme Court.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said a stay of a lower-court decision will remain in effect so Trump's lawyers can appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. Trump's lawyers suggested the subpoena was overly broad and politically motivated. The subpoena was issued to his accounting firm Mazars USA and it seeks his tax returns among other financial materials.

The appellate court's decision followed a September 28 report in The New York Times that Trump had paid $750 in federal income taxes in both 2016 and 2017, and no income taxes in 10 of the prior 15 years, reflecting "chronic" losses he used to avoid paying taxes.

At the time, Trump dismissed the report as "fake news" and maintained he has paid taxes, but he provided no specifics.

A Justice Department spokesperson said the department was reviewing the ruling.

He has long resisted making his tax returns public, unlike his six immediate predecessors occupying the White House.

"We hold that none of the President's allegations, taken together or separately, are sufficient to raise a plausible inference that the subpoena was issued 'out of malice or an intent to harass, '" the appeals court said. Trump's attorneys argued the district attorney's investigation was limited based on an earlier subpoena it sent to the Trump Organization that only referenced the hush money payments. While the Republican-controlled Senate aims to confirm Trump's nominee to replace her, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, before Election Day, it is unclear how the eight justices now on the court would rule if Trump's legal team appeals.

The court said grand juries "necessarily paint with a broad brush", especially in complex financial investigations, and do not know at the outset what their needs are.

"There is no logic to the proposition that the documents sought in the Mazars subpoena are irrelevant to legitimate state law enforcement purposes simply because a Congressional committee considered the same documents relevant to its own investigative purposes", the judges wrote. The nation's highest court is down to eight justices after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

New: Trump has again lost his effort to stop the NY DA's office from enforcing a grand jury subpoena for his tax returns. If that happened, it would likely occur after the November 3 election.

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