Trump challenges ‘dragnet’ subpoena for tax returns

US president’s lawyers say a court erred in giving Manhattan’s top prosecutor the greenlight to access the tax returns.

Trump has spent more than a year fighting a subpoena that aims to get him to release his tax returns [File: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

US President Donald Trump on Friday urged a federal appeals court to block what he called a “bad faith effort” by Manhattan’s top prosecutor to enforce a “dragnet” subpoena for his tax returns to advance a criminal probe into his businesses.

In a filing with the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, Trump‘s lawyers said that a lower court judge erred in giving Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance a green light to obtain eight years of business and personal tax returns from the president’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA.

Trump has spent more than a year resisting the subpoena, and he is appealing an August 20 decision by US District Judge Victor Marrero in Manhattan to allow its enforcement.

He said Marrero should be required to reexamine his claims without prejudging them as “back-door attempts” to claim absolute immunity from criminal probes while in the White House, an argument the US Supreme Court rejected in July.

A spokesman for Vance did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Oral arguments are scheduled for September 25.

The appeals process likely means Trump‘s tax returns will not become public before the presidential elections on November 3.

In Friday’s filing, Trump’s lawyers said Vance, a Democrat, largely copied an earlier subpoena from Congressional Democrats, who themselves were “restless” to obtain his returns.

It said the subpoena “makes dragnet requests for reams of the President’s papers, requests documents as far back as 2011, and seeks records from entities all over the world”, giving it an “unlimited breadth” that Marrero failed to take into account.

“Subpoenas issued to the President that are ‘arbitrary fishing expeditions’ or that are issued ‘out of malice or an intent to harass’ are invalid,” the filing said.

Source: Reuters