A federal judge on Monday dismissed President Trump‘s lawsuit challenging a subpoena from New York prosecutors for his tax returns.
Judge Victor Marrero, a district judge in New York appointed by former President Clinton, rejected Trump’s argument that he cannot be subject to the criminal process while in office.
“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,” Marrero wrote in a 75-page ruling.
Marrero said that Trump was advancing a position that presidents, their relatives and their businesses are above the law and that aspects of such a position are “repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional values.”
Trump’s lawyers promptly filed an emergency notice of appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.
Shortly after the ruling came out, Trump tweeted: “The Radical Left Democrats have failed on all fronts, so now they are pushing local New York City and State Democrat prosecutors to go get President Trump. A thing like this has never happened to any President before. Not even close!”
The Radical Left Democrats have failed on all fronts, so now they are pushing local New York City and State Democrat prosecutors to go get President Trump. A thing like this has never happened to any President before. Not even close!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019
The Manhattan district attorney’s office issued a grand jury subpoena in August to Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, for Trump’s tax returns and other financial records. The following month, Trump’s personal lawyers filed a lawsuit seeking to block enforcement of the subpoena.
The district attorney’s office is investigating payments made ahead of the 2016 presidential election to women who have claimed they had affairs with Trump.
Trump had been seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent the subpoena from being enforced while the case was being adjudicated. The district attorney’s office had argued that the case should be dismissed and that any legal challenge belongs in state court rather than federal court.
In his ruling on Monday, Marrero sided with the district attorney’s office, finding that the federal court should abstain from exercising jurisdiction over Trump’s lawsuit.
Marrero also denied Trump’s motion for temporary relief in the event that an appeals court rules that abstaining from the case is unwarranted.
Marrero said that he doesn’t think enforcement of the Mazars subpoena would cause Trump “irreparable harm.” And he said that Trump would be unlikely to succeed on the merits of his case.
“The Court disagrees with the President’s position that a third person or entity cannot be subpoenaed requesting documents related to an investigation concerning potentially unlawful transactions and conduct of third parties in which records possessed or controlled by the sitting President may be critical to establish the guilt or innocence of such third parties, or of the president,” Marrero wrote.
This report was updated at 10:42 a.m.