President Donald Trump’s lawyers made a final pitch Monday to block a New York prosecutor from getting his tax records, saying the Democrat was still “fishing for a way to justify his harassment of the President.”
The lawyers made their written submission to a federal judge who last year refused to throw out the subpoena Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance issued to Trump's accountant in a criminal probe.
U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero's ruling was upheld last month by the U.S. Supreme Court, though the high court returned to the case to him, saying Trump's lawyers were entitled to challenge the subpoena in the same manner as anyone else.
The president responded by arguing through his attorneys that the subpoena was issued in bad faith, might have been politically motivated and amounted to harassment of the president, especially since the wording mimicked the language in congressional subpoenas.
Vance's attorneys said they were entitled to extensive records to aid a “complex financial investigation" and they cited in their papers public reports of “extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization.”
Trump's lawyers said Monday that the request for tax records dating back to 2011 was retaliatory after the president's company, the Trump Organization, disputed the scope of a subpoena seeking records from June 1, 2015, through Sept 20, 2018.
That time span pertains to an investigation related to payoffs to two women, including a porn actress, to keep them quiet during the 2016 presidential campaign about alleged extramarital affairs with Trump. Trump has denied the affairs.
“The District Attorney’s motion is doomed," Trump's lawyers wrote.
They said the inclusion by Vance's lawyers in their arguments of three news articles suggesting financial misdeeds by Trump “shows that the District Attorney is still fishing for a way to justify his harassment of the President."
Trump's lawyers told the judge that the subpoena was served on the president's accountant only after a disagreement arose over whether the subpoena to the Trump Organization required the production of tax returns.
They said the subpoena “reaches far beyond the scope of the investigation" by asking for all financial records, documents, and communications from all entities associated with the Trump Organization across the nation and world over nearly a decade.
“Abruptly issuing a grossly overbroad subpoena, that was copied from an unrelated congressional demand, in order to punish the President for asserting his rights is the definition of bad faith," Trump's lawyers said.