The Corner

Law & the Courts

Federal Appeals Court Rejects President’s Challenge to Manhattan DA’s Subpoena for His Private Financial Records

As expected, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York City has rejected President Trump’s effort to quash the subpoena issued by Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance, which demands production of several years of the president’s personal financial records from his accountant, Mazars USA.

A three-judge panel issued its unanimous, unsigned 35-page opinion this morning. I wrote about this latest round of the litigation in late August, here.

The court rejected the president’s unfounded surmise that the New York grand jury investigation relates solely to payments made by Trump’s former lawyer (and self-described “fixer”), Michael Cohen, in connection with hush-money payments to two women who claim to have had extramarital trysts with Trump about a decade before he ran for president. As I noted in the column, DA Vance appears to be looking at possible bank and insurance fraud violations, which were suggested in a sprawling October 2018 New York Times report about the Trump organization.

Today’s decision was on appeal from a ruling by a federal judge from Southern District of New York, similarly rejecting the presidents claims. The case had been remanded to the district court after the Supreme Court’s ruling in July that Trump did not have immunity from the subpoena but was free to challenge it on other grounds.

While the district court’s ruling was being appealed to the Second Circuit, the District Attorney agreed not to enforce the subpoena while the appellate court was considering the case on an expedited basis. That procedure is again being followed: The DA has agreed not to try to enforce the subpoena while the president attempts to convince the Supreme Court to hear the case again.

I do not believe the Supreme Court will grant a review. In its July ruling, it laid out guidelines for the lower courts to follow, and those courts appear to have complied with the High Court’s instructions. In any event, we will know within a short time, perhaps before the election. But even if the Court refuses to hear the case and the president’s accountant surrenders the information, that does not mean there will be any other important developments, such as a decision about charges, before the election.

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