Steve August 20, 2020

A federal judge on Thursday denied President Tweety McTreason’s latest attempt to quash a probe by New York prosecutors seeking his tax returns and other financial documents.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero amounted to a second loss in Trump’s high-stakes court battle with Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance.

Marrero had rejected Trump’s initial attempt to block a subpoena from Vance seeking eight years of his tax returns.

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The Supreme Court ruled last month that the president is not immune from a grand jury subpoena while in office but allowed him to make an alternative argument to fight it.

In his 103-page ruling, Marrero rejected Trump’s new argument that Vance’s subpoena is “wildly broad” and was issued in “bad faith.”

“At its core, it amounts to absolute immunity through a back door, an entry point through which not only a President but also potentially other persons and entities, public and private, could effectively gain cover from judicial process,” Marrero wrote.

The decision moves Vance one step closer to obtaining the president’s financial records. But within just a few hours of the ruling, Trump’s lawyers filed an emergency motion appealing the decision and asking for a freeze on the case.

“The President respectfully disagrees with that decision and believes there is a likelihood of reversal on appeal,” Trump’s lawyers wrote. “But what matters most at this point is that, absent a stay, the subpoena will be enforced before the President has been afforded any appellate review of his overbreadth and bad-faith claims.”

Vance’s office subpoenaed Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, in 2019 as part of an investigation into payments the Trump Organization made to two women who have alleged affairs with the president, which he has denied. In a court filing this month, Vance’s office suggested the investigation goes beyond the payments to include alleged insurance and bank fraud.

A spokesman for Vance’s office declined comment.

Tom Winter

Tom Winter is a New York-based correspondent covering crime, courts, terrorism and financial fraud on the East Coast for the NBC News Investigative Unit.

Rich Schapiro

Rich Schapiro is a reporter for the NBC News Investigative Unit.

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