The legal debate over whether President Donald Trump’s tax returns should be released to a New York prosecutor will be hashed out in federal appeals court on Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Trump’s lawyers will request that the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals block the enforcement of a subpoena requiring the president to hand over his tax returns, the Journal reports.
The Manhattan district attorney has been after the president’s tax returns for a year. The office is conducting a criminal investigation into the president. The New York attorney general’s office is conducting its own civil investigation, which also involves Trump's finances.
According to the Journal, both legal cases are at critical junctures.
Trump has called the criminal investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. the “worst witch hunt in American history.”
Vance subpoenaed financial records, including eight years of tax returns, from the president’s accounting firm in August 2019. Trump then sued in an attempt to block the subpoena.
According to court filings made by the district attorney, the probe is a financial investigation into possible insurance or bank fraud.
The office cited public accusations of fraudulent financial activities, including allegations that Trump inflated his assets and property valuations to lenders and investors in order to secure loans and receive tax benefits. In addition to tax returns, Vance is also asking for documents related to hush-money payments made to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, both of whom claim they had affairs with the president. Trump denies the affairs took place.
So far, Trump has not succeeded in the court room. In July, the Supreme Court sent the case back to U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero, who then dismissed the lawsuit again.
The case will now go before an appeals panel.
Vance’s office has said it won’t enforce the subpoena until after the appeals court renders a decision.
In addition to the pending criminal case, the president and the Trump Organization are also facing a civil investigation led by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
That office is looking into whether Trump and his company improperly inflated the value of his assets on financial statements to obtain loans and get economic and tax benefits.
In a court filing made last week, James asked for a judge to enforce subpoenas issued on Trump Organization documents and testimony from several people including Eric Trump, the president’s son. James noted that the Trump Organization has not been cooperative with the investigation.
The state attorney general’s office has said it is looking at financial dealings involving several properties including Seven Springs Estate, a 212-acre property in Westchester County; 40 Wall Street, a mixed-use building in lower Manhattan; Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago; and Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles.
According to the Journal, the office said it is bringing the civil investigation forward under a state law that permits the office to look into repeated fraud or illegality.
Scott Wilson, a former senior official at the office who is now in private practice, told the Journal that the office will only attempt to shut down a company in extreme cases.
“At the end of the day, if the investigation uncovers illegal activity, they would likely seek an order to stop that conduct and direct restitution or damages be paid,” he said.
James could also send the case to a local law enforcement agency or ask permission for her office to open a criminal investigation, according to the Journal.
A court date has not been scheduled yet for the civil case.
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