Trump lawyers renew legal assault on tax records subpoena
NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump’s lawyers filed fresh arguments Monday to try to block a criminal subpoena for his tax records, saying it was issued in bad faith, might have been politically motivated and calling it a harassment of the president.
Lawyers filed a rewritten lawsuit in Manhattan federal court to challenge the subpoena by a state prosecutor on grounds they believe conform with how the U.S. Supreme Court said the subpoena can be contested.
They asked a judge to declare it “invalid and unenforceable.”
The high court ruled earlier this month that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. could subpoena tax records from Trump’s accountant over his objections.
But the court said Trump could challenge the subpoena as improper just as anyone else can.
Trump’s lawyers had argued that the president could not be criminally investigated while he was in office.
In their new court papers, Trump’s lawyers said the subpoena of his tax records was “wildly overbroad” and “amounts to harassment of the President.”
They said it was issued in bad faith, copying a Congressional subpoena.
“Whether the District Attorney photocopied a congressional subpoena for political reasons, for efficiency reasons, or for both, he knowingly and intentionally issued a wildly overbroad subpoena for the President’s records,” the lawyers said.
They said the subpoena seeks detailed information about all of Trump’s assets in the U.S. and abroad for a 10-year period.
“Simply put, it asks for everything,” the lawyers wrote.
Vance sought the tax records in part for a probe of how Trump’s then-personal lawyer arranged during the 2016 presidential race to keep the porn actress Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal from airing claims of extramarital affairs with Trump. Trump has denied the affairs.
Vance, a Democrat, has requested eight years of the Republican president’s personal and corporate tax records.
Danny Frost, a spokesperson for Vance, declined comment Monday.
The Supreme Court had returned the case to a federal judge in Manhattan who has arranged for both sides to finish filing their legal arguments over challenges to the subpoena by mid-August.
Last year, the same judge ruled against Trump in a written opinion that was upheld by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.
In their new court filing, Trump’s lawyers said the tax subpoena “demands voluminous documents related to every facet of the business and financial affairs of the President and numerous associated entities — from the banal to the complex, from drafts and memoranda to formal records, from source documents to summaries.”
They said it was wrong for Vance to seek records dating to 2011 when he was primarily investigating events that took place in 2016.
The lawsuit said the subpoena concerns entities in California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. It said other affected entities are located outside the U.S., including in Canada, the Dominican Republic, Dubai, India, Indonesia, Ireland, the Philippines, Scotland, and Turkey.
“Taken together, the subpoena demands an accounting and analysis of every single asset and liability of the President, including each one of the listed entities,” the lawyers wrote, calling the request “an overreaching demand designed to pick apart the President.”