US President Donald Trump has called on a federal appeals court to block what he described as a bad faith effort by Manhattan’s top prosecutor to obtain his tax returns.
A lower court judge has allowed Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance to obtain eight years of business and personal tax returns from Trump’s longtime accounting firm Mazars USA.
In a filing with the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York on Friday, Trump’s lawyers said Victor Marrero, the lower court judge, erred in giving Vance a green light.
The Republican president has been fighting to block Vance’s subpoena for a year, including at the US Supreme Court, which last month rejected his argument that he has immunity from criminal probes while in the White House.
Trump later claimed that Vance’s subpoena was “wildly overbroad” and issued in “bad faith,” largely mirroring similar subpoena issued by congressional Democrats.
His lawyers said again in Friday’s filing that 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 consideration.
Trump, who has described Vance’s subpoena as part of a “witch hunt,” called for Marrero to be required to reevaluate his claims without prejudging them as “back-door attempts” to claim absolute immunity from criminal investigation while in the White House.
Vance started his probe after it was revealed that Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, before the 2016 election, made hush money payments to keep two women quiet about their claims that they had had sexual encounters with Trump.
Last month, Vance suggested in a court filing his subpoena was also related to “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct” at the president’s business, the Trump Organization, including insurance and bank fraud.
The prior six presidents, including three Republicans and three Democrats, have released their tax returns.