President Donald Trump’s lawyers are ready to urge a federal appeals court to reverse a lower-court’s conclusion that his tax returns can be turned over to state prosecutors.
The lawyers will appear before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan on Wednesday morning to urge a three-judge panel to reject the judge’s conclusions that Trump can’t stand in the way of the request from the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.
Vance, a Democrat, sought tax records since 2011 from Trump’s longtime accountant for a criminal probe stemming in part from payments made to buy the silence of two women who claim affairs with the president before the 2016 presidential election. The payments were made to porn star Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, a one-time Playboy centerfold. Both have spoken publicly since Trump took office in early 2017.
Trump’s lawyers say the Constitution prohibits states from subjecting the U.S. president to criminal process while he’s in office.
Vance’s attorneys counter that no one is above the law. They also say the records would remain secret because they are sought for a grand jury.
Both sides have agreed that no tax records will be demanded until court appeals are finished. It is unclear how quickly the court may rule.
In court papers, Vance has said he’s seeking financial and tax records of entities and individuals, including Trump, who engaged in business transactions in Manhattan.
Trump’s lawyers wrote in court papers that the request is unusual and requires more specific information.
“Tellingly, until now, no state or local prosecutor has ever initiated criminal process against a sitting President,” they wrote.