“The question at this point is quite simple but also very important,” said Trump’s lawyer William Consovoy. “Will the president have the opportunity to appeal this decision before his personal files are disclosed to the grand jury and the status quo is irrevocably changed?” “
A hearing on the merits of Trump’s latest appeal will take place on September 25 after the two sides agree on a fast-track timeline – meaning it is possible the matter could be resolved before the November election.
Trump’s lawyers appealed to the U.S. Circuit’s Second Court of Appeals last month after a district court judge rejected their renewed efforts to strike down a subpoena to his accounting firm. Judge John M Walker Jr said in Tuesday’s hearing that the subpoenas concerned 11 entities engaged in trade relations as far away as Europe and Dubai.
Trump blasted the long quest for his financial records as a “continuation of the most disgusting witch hunt in our country’s history” and predicted the case would end up in the Supreme Court again.
The Supreme Court ruled last month that the presidency itself did not protect Trump from Vance’s investigation, but the high court sent the case back to the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero to allow lawyers for Trump to raise further concerns about the subpoena.
Trump’s lawyers then argued that the subpoena was issued in bad faith and too broad, could have been politically motivated, and constituted harassment. Marrero rejected these allegations. Consovoy told judges on Tuesday that the investigation was an “arbitrary fishing expedition”.
Carey Dunne, of the district attorney’s office, said Trump and his lawyers have long distorted the scope of the investigation as focusing primarily on the covert payments that were paid to protect Trump from allegations of adultery. Vance’s attorneys have said they are legally entitled to many files to facilitate a “complex financial investigation.”
“The president has complained at every turn that we haven’t announced what the grand jury considers if this itself was in bad faith,” Dunne said. “But of course, what the grand jury is watching is a secret. We’re not allowed to make this public, which has led to his speculation about the grand jury’s reach. But none of this speculation is plausible. ”
Even if Vance obtained Trump’s tax records, they would become part of a confidential grand jury investigation and not automatically be made public.
Vance, a Democrat, began researching the Republican president’s tax returns from his long-time accounting firm more than a year ago, after former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen told Congress that the president had misled tax officials, insurers and associates about the value of his assets. .
Congress is also pursuing Trump’s financial records, although the Supreme Court last month retained control over the banking and other documents Congress sought and referred the case to a lower court.
Trump is the only modern president to have refused to release his tax returns. Before being elected, he had promised to do so.