A federal judge on Oct. 7 ordered President Donald Trump to turn over eight years of tax returns, responding to an appeal from Trump’s lawyers after Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance issued a subpoena for the returns last month.
Trump sued Vance, saying the subpoena was unconstitutional because Trump is president.
District Court Judge Victor Marrero, a Bill Clinton appointee, called the argument set forth by Trump’s representatives “an extraordinary claim.”
“He contends that, in his view of the president’s duties and functions and the allocation of government powers between the executive and the judicial branches under the United States Constitution, the person who serves as president, while in office, enjoys absolute immunity from criminal process of any kind,” Marrero wrote in the ruling.
“This court cannot endorse such a categorical and limitless assertion of presidential immunity from judicial process as being countenanced by the nation’s constitutional plan, especially in the light of the fundamental concerns over excessive arrogation of power that animated the Constitution’s delicate structure and its calibrated balance of authority among the three branches of the national government, as well as between the federal and state authorities,” he added.
Marrero said that subjecting the president to some aspects of criminal proceedings could interfere or even incapacitate his ability to work but “contrary to the president’s immunity claims as asserted here that consequence would not necessarily follow every stage of every criminal proceeding.”
He later wrote that the president of the United States is not the king of England.
“Shunning the concept of the inviolability of the person of the king of England and the bounds of the monarch’s protective screen covering the Crown’s actions from legal scrutiny, the Founders disclaimed any notion that the Constitution generally conferred similarly all-encompassing immunity upon the president,” Marrero said.
Trump’s attorneys filed an emergency appeal to the Second Circuit.
Vance, the district attorney, said last month that he subpoenaed Mazars USA, Trump’s former accounting firm, as part of his office’s effort to prove the president’s financial dealings.
Vance was probing payments made to Stormy Daniels, a pornographic actress who has claimed she had an affair with Trump. Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, said earlier this year that he delivered the payment to Daniels with the knowledge of Trump and said he had been reimbursed by the president and his organization.
Trump has denied the affair and any other wrongdoing.
“Mazars USA will respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations,” the company said in a statement sent to The Epoch Times. “We believe strongly in the ethical and professional rules and regulations that govern our industry, our work, and our client interactions. As a matter of firm policy and professional rules we do not comment on the work we conduct for our clients.”