California defends tax return law after setback

James Marshall
September 20, 2019

President Donald Trump is suing his long-time accounting firm Mazars USA and NY district attorney Cyrus Vance to attempt to stop his accounting records and tax returns from being sent to the local prosecutor.

President Donald Trump's efforts to keep his tax returns private played out on both coasts Thursday, with a California judge handing him an initial victory and his lawyers in New York City arguing that federal prosecutors there are trying "to harass" him by seeking the documents. Trump lost before a trial court in that case but is now waiting for a decision from the federal appeals court in Washington.

Vance's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Modern presidential candidates have shared years of their tax returns with the public while on the campaign trail.

Padilla says California will determine its next steps after the judge issues his written ruling next month.

"I don't care how you skin the cat, it's an unconstitutional law", said Harmeet Dhillon, who represented the state and national Republican parties.

Judge England said that the law would cause "irreparable harm without temporary relief" for candidates including Trump. But the president's legal team and the DA's office disagreed over whether the subpoena covered the Trump Organization's tax returns, according to the complaint. He also hosts The Bee's "California Nation" podcast. He also argued the law could set off a slippery slope that could lead to more extreme candidate disclosures like mental and physical information.

"The elephant in the room is President Trump's tax returns - that's what this is about", Judge England said.

Lawyers for Trump and Republicans argue it violates the Constitution by adding an additional requirement to run for president.

Federal prosecutors in NY and Washington spent months probing payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign to two women who said they had affairs with Trump, including Daniels and model Karen McDougal.

News of the temporary injunction comes the same day Trump launched a new lawsuit against his long-time accounting firm Mazars USA and NY district attorney Cyrus Vance to attempt to stop his accounting records and tax returns from being sent to the local prosecutor, arguing he can't be prosecuted while in the White House. But the topic never ended up in court, after Mueller acknowledged a Justice Department policy that said a sitting President couldn't be charged with a federal crime, and Mueller left the prosecution decision up to Justice Department leadership.

Unlike in California, the NY case is part of a criminal investigation and a grand jury issued the subpoenas. They asked the judge for a permanent injunction staying the subpoena while Trump is in office, as well as a temporary injunction prohibiting Mazars from complying with the subpoena until its validity has been determined.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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