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 Manhattan, Trump’s lawyers said 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 Republican president’s longtime accounting firm Mazars USA.
Trump said Vance, a Democrat, largely copied an earlier subpoena by Congressional Democrats who themselves were “restless” to obtain his returns.
He also said the district attorney went too far issuing a subpoena that “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.”
A spokesman for Vance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The appeals court has scheduled oral arguments for September 25.
Also read: Trump must turn over tax returns to DA, judge rules again
Lawyers for Trump have said if the court ruled against him, he would appeal to the US Supreme Court. The appeals process likely means the contents of Trump’s tax returns will not become public before November 3, when Trump is seeking reelection.
Trump has spent more than a year resisting the subpoena and is appealing an August 20 decision by US District Judge Victor Marrero in Manhattan to allow its enforcement.
Vance began his probe after news that Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen made hush money payments before the 2016 election to keep two women quiet about their claimed sexual encounters with Trump, which the President has denied.
In a court filing last month, Vance suggested the subpoena was also related to “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct” at the president’s business, the Trump Organization, including insurance and bank fraud.
In July, the Supreme Court refused to block the subpoena, rejecting Trump’s claim of absolute immunity from criminal probes while in the White House but said Trump could raise other objections, including as to the subpoena’s scope.
The prior six Presidents, including three Republicans and three Democrats, have released their tax returns.