Judge denies President Trump's request to keep tax returns secret

Federal judge orders Donald Trump to hand over eight years of his personal and company tax returns

Trump Loses First Round In Tax Return Fight

A federal judge on Monday ordered Donald Trump to turn over eight years of personal and corporate tax returns to the Manhattan District Attorney's office.

To buy this argument, Marrero decides, is not just to say that a president can not be prosecuted while in office.

Rachel Maddow reports on Donald Trump's legal argument to prevent Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance from obtaining Trump's past tax returns in his investigation of hush money payments by Trump and his associates.

Vance Jr.'s office issued a subpoena for the tax returns last week as part of an investigation into former Trump attorney Michael D. Cohen's hush-money payment to pornographer Stormy Daniels.

In his 75-page ruling, Marrero called such a claim "extraordinary" and wrote that "This Court can not endorse such a categorical and limitless assertion of presidential immunity from judicial process". But the judge rejected Trump's claim of "absolute immunity from criminal process of any kind".

"The stay issued by the Second Circuit.is what we call an "administrative stay" - it's not on the merits, it's just "let's just hold off until we can find a panel of three judges to receive the documents and they'll decide on this".

Cohen was sentenced to three years in federal prison in December 2018 for evasion and campaign-finance law violations related to the payment.

But the long reach of the subpoena might stem in part from testimony Cohen gave to Congress early this year when he asserted that Trump overstated his wealth to financial institutions before he became president.

In his opinion, Marrero allowed that some aspects of the criminal process could impede a President's ability to perform his duties. Presidents, their families and businesses are not above the law, the judge wrote. But Marrero dismissed that concern, saying "certainly lengthy imprisonment upon conviction would produce that result" and that Trump's "sweeping" theory lacked support in the Constitution.

Marrero's order starts off badly for Trump and only goes downhill from there.

"As the Court reads it, presidential immunity would stretch to cover every phase of criminal proceedings", he wrote. Justice Department policy, however, has always been that sitting presidents can not be charged criminally, and impeachment is the only way to address potential wrongdoing.

Justice Department lawyers in Washington, who had urged Marrero to delay deciding the issue, declined to comment.

The president has spent much of his almost three years in office shielding his tax returns from public view, and went against a four-decade precedent of releasing his tax information while running for office, as other candidates have since 1974 in the name of transparency. "Whether or not the Court ultimately agrees with the President's constitutional challenge to the subpoena, he is entitled to appellate review before his papers are forcibly disclosed to a state grand jury".

However, he also offered whether or not Trump has a point when he claims to be the subject of a "witch hunt" through multiple means, including litigation.

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