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Appeals Court runs out of patience with fight over Trump's taxes, calling his claims 'highly contrived'

By Stephen Rex Brown, New York Daily News on

Published in Political News

NEW YORK - President Donald Trump's relentless fight to keep his taxes from Manhattan District Cy Vance may soon reach an end.

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ran out of patience Friday with Trump's legal challenges to Vance's subpoenas on his longtime accounting firm.

All three judges on the panel appeared deeply skeptical of arguments by Trump attorney William Consovoy.

Judge Raymond Lohier wondered if there was any subpoena Trump would consider justified.

"Is there a request for documents ... that would not, in your view, be overbroad?" Lohier asked.

No, Consovoy replied.

"That's a problem. You see why that's a problem," Lohier said.

Judge Pierre Leval called Trump's allegations against Vance "deeply contrived."

Judge Robert Katzmann scoffed at Trump's claim that the grand jury Vance is using to investigate the Trump Organization should be limited in scope. The grand jury is probing the company's accounting practices, among other issues.

"Grand juries, as you know, are given broad authority to do their work. Are you asking us to change the way grand juries have done their work for time immemorial just because someone is President of the United States?" Katzmann asked.

 

Perhaps most significantly for Trump, Leval indicated that the only thing stopping Vance from enforcing his subpoena on Trump's accounting firm, Mazars, was Vance himself. The DA has agreed with Trump to delay enforcement of the demand while Trump pursued appeals. The judge requested further briefing on the issue.

Trump sued to block the subpoenas over a year ago, arguing that he was entitled to broad immunity from criminal investigation while in the White House. The Supreme Court rejected that claim in July.

"No citizen, not even the president, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in an historic decision.

The case returned to the lower court, where Trump pursued arguments that Vance was on an improper fishing expedition and that the subpoena was overbroad.

Judge Victor Marrero then ruled in August that it was time for Trump to comply with Vance's demand, just as any other citizen would.

"Justice requires an end to this controversy," he wrote.

Trump then appealed that decision, bringing the case before the 2nd Circuit yet again.

Court filings have hinted that Vance's probe may go beyond hush money to women in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election and include a probe of possible insurance and bank fraud, among other financial crimes.

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