A federal appeals court denied President Donald Trump’s attempt to halt the enforcement of a subpoena for his financial records but at the same time set a rapid schedule for oral arguments in the case, leaving a window of several days where prosecutors could seek to obtain the President’s tax returns.
The ruling from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals came hours after the President’s lawyers requested an emergency stay, or hold, on the subpoena.
Under a previous arrangement, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance agreed not to enforce the subpoena until seven days after the district court ruled. That deadline would expire next week.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals scheduled oral arguments on whether to grant a “stay” for September 1, raising the possibility that Trump’s financial records and tax returns could be turned over to prosecutors before the hearing – unless the President takes the case up to the Supreme Court or Vance’s office agrees to hold off for the appeals’ court decision.
Lawyers for the President and district attorney did not immediately return requests for comment on the ruling.
The ruling is the latest in a whirlwind of court filings following Thursday’s decision by US District Judge Victor Marrero to toss Trump’s amended lawsuit challenging the supboena. The decision marked the latest rejection of Trump’s attempt to block prosecutors from gaining his financial records and tax returns from his long-time accountant Mazars USA.
Last year, Vance’s office subpoenaed Mazars USA seeking eight years of Trump’s personal and business records and tax returns. Prosecutors have said the documents are critical to their investigation into the Trump Organization. Whether the subpoena is enforced now or in a few weeks, Trump’s tax returns and business records will not become public because they are guarded by grand jury secrecy rules. The only likelihood that they would become public would be if there was a trial.
Earlier Friday, lawyers for Trump had filed an emergency request asking the appeals court to place a hold on the subpoena for his financial documents and tax returns on hold until the higher court could weigh in on the matter.
Trump’s lawyers told the Second Circuit that without a stay it would result in “quintessential irreparable harm” by allowing the subpoena for the records to go ahead.
The filing immediately followed a ruling by US District Judge Victor Marrero, who on Friday denied Trump’s request to put his decision dismissing the lawsuit on hold to allow the President’s legal team time to appeal.
Vance’s office has been examining whether Trump or the Trump Organization violated state laws in connection with hush money payments made to women alleging affairs with Trump. The investigation has also looked into whether business records filed with the state were falsified and if any tax laws were violated, CNN has reported.
On Thursday, Marrero ruled that the subpoena to Trump’s long-time accountant Mazars USA was valid and New York prosecutors could have access to Trump’s accounting records for a criminal investigation. Trump immediately moved to have the decision stayed while he appealed.
Marrero rejected that request on Friday saying he didn’t believe Trump’s argument would win.
“The Court is not persuaded that appellate review would be successful in any event. This argument cannot suffice to show irreparable harm,” Marrero wrote in denying Trump’s motion.
Trump had sued Vance to stop the grand jury subpoena of his longtime accounting firm Mazars USA for years of his records.
The subpoena asked for records from Mazars related to Trump, the Trump Organization, his foundation and several related subsidiaries. The requested documents, court records said, pertain not just to business in New York, but also in other states like Florida and California, countries including Turkey, Canada and Indonesia, as well as the city of Dubai.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect that Dubai is a city. It has also been updated to reflect additional reporting and background.