A federal judge has been asked to revisit his decision to deny the president his right to keep personal financial records private.
President Donald Trump is appealing against the U.S. District Court’s failure to block a prosecutor’s subpoena to disclose his tax returns dating back eight years.
Manhattan Judge Victor Marrero upheld a grand jury subpoena from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance (D) to collect the personal information from the president’s accounting firm Mazars USA, even though doing so would be “wildly overboard” and issued in bad faith.
Marrero feared granting presidential immunity to the subpoena could constitute “undue expansion.”
“Justice requires an end to this controversy,” he said in his 103-page judgment, according to Reuters.
However, the president hopes an emergency motion will postpone the deadline for handing over his tax returns based on his argument that releasing the “private, confidential information” would cause irreversible damage.
Once the motion is accepted the matter will be heard in the U.S. Supreme Court, where the Oval Office will have an opportunity to challenge the subpoena on other grounds.
Regardless of the outcome, strict litigation and grand jury secrecy rules will mean the tax returns are unlikely to be disclosed before the upcoming election on Nov. 3.
“This is a continuation of the most disgusting witch hunt in the history of our country,” the president said, according to Reuters. “This is the ultimate fishing expedition.”
President Trump’s legal team previously urged the Supreme Court to overrule the subpoena because it would compromise his privacy.
They described any criminal probe of the president at the state or local level as unconstitutional and unprecedented in American history.
“Allowing the sitting president to be targeted for criminal investigation—and to be subpoenaed on that basis—would, like an indictment itself, distract him from the numerous and important duties of his office, intrude on and impair executive branch operations, and stigmatize the presidency,” American Center for Law and Justice Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow said in a brief according to The Associated Press.
Trump’s lawyers have also accused Vance’s actions of being politically motivated.
The Department of Justice previously intervened on the president’s behalf in New York, requiring the district attorney to prove a “particularized need” for the records before they could be released to a grand jury.
Mazars has indicated it would produce the records if the court continues to uphold the subpoena.