A three-judge panel on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals said on Monday ruled that President Trump can’t block the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office from subpoenaing his accounting firm for tax returns and financial records, delivering a blow to the president’s claim that he is immune to criminal investigations.
The judges ruled that “presidential immunity does not bar the enforcement of a state grand jury subpoena directing a third party to produce non-privileged material, even when the subject matter under investigation pertains to the President.”
The ruling sets the stage for a potential battle before the Supreme Court, where Trump’s legal team has vowed to take the fight.
During a hearing before the panel last month, Trump’s personal lawyer had argued that a sitting president enjoys blanket immunity from criminal prosecution and even investigations while in office, going so far as to claim that local authorities could not investigate him even if he shot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue.
In the opinion authored by 2nd Circuit Chief Judge Robert Katzmann, the panel refused to rule on whether Trump could be prosecuted while in office, but said that any legal immunity that he enjoys doesn’t extend to a subpoena of his accountants.
“There is no obvious reason why a state could not begin to investigate a President during his term and, with the information secured during that search, ultimately determine to prosecute him after he leaves office,” Katzmann wrote.
You can read the ruling below.