Politics

Appeals court grants Trump delay of subpoena for his tax returns by Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr.

Key Points
  • A federal appeals court in New York City on Tuesday granted President Donald Trump a temporary block of  a grand jury subpoena seeking his income tax returns from his accountants.
  • The move came several hours after a three-judge panel on the United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit heard arguments seeking the delay from Trump's lawyer.
  • Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is seeking the tax returns and other records as part of a probe that, among other things, is looking into hush money payments that Trump's then-personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen paid to two women before the 2016 presidential election.
President Donald Trump arrives at Morristown municipal airport for a weekend at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, August 2, 2019.
Yuri Gripas | Reuters

A federal appeals court in New York City on Tuesday granted President Donald Trump a temporary block of a grand jury subpoena seeking his income tax returns from his accountants.

The move came several hours after a three-judge panel on the United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit heard arguments seeking the delay from Trump's lawyer.

The panel said that the subpoena, issued by a grand jury at the behest of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., would be stayed pending a broader appeal of a lower court judge's ruling this month that said the subpoena could be executed.

An argument on the merits of that appeal will be held Sept. 25 at the 2nd Circuit.

A lawyer Trump for the Manhattan district attorney, who is seeking those returns as part of a criminal probe, had told the panel earlier Tuesday that if the panel granted a stay of the subpoena, they would both be willing to agree to an expedited schedule to appeal a lower court order upholding that demand for documents.

Trump's lawyer, William Consovoy, told the panel during a hearing that if it does not grant him a stay pending a full appeal hearing of a lower court order, he wants an administrative stay that would allow the president time to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to block the subpoena for now.

"You can expect something from us by the end of the day," said Judge John Walker after listening to arguments over the stay from Consovoy and a lawyer from Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr.'s office.

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Judge denies Trump request for stay of tax return subpoena

Trump earlier this summer lost an appeal over the subpoena to the Supreme Court, which ruled that he did not have an absolute right as president to keep the returns from being obtained by state prosecutors for as long as he is in the White House.

But the high court allowed him to make additional arguments opposing the subpoena in the same Manhattan federal district court where he previously failed to block the subpoena.

A judge from that court this month rejected the president's revised arguments, and refused to stay his decision pending an expected appeal by Trump.

The president then asked the 2nd Circuit appeals court to block the records from being turned over from accounting firm Mazars USA pending an appeal of the district court's denial.

Vance is seeking the tax returns and other records as part of a probe that, among other things, is looking into hush money payments that Trump's then-personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen paid to two women before the 2016 presidential election.

Prosecutors also could be eyeing possible bank and insurance fraud by Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, court filings suggest.

Trump has refused to voluntarily release his tax returns to the public, breaking four decades of precedent by presidents and presidential nominees.

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The saga of Trump's taxes