Manhattan D.A., Trump lawyers strike deal to speed fight over Trump tax returns to Supreme Court

Eight years of financial records are being sought in a criminal investigation into the Trump Organization about hush money payments made to two women.
Image: Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance attends a news conference in New York in 2018.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance attends a news conference in New York in 2018.Jeenah Moon / Reuters file

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By Tom Winter and Dareh Gregorian

The Manhattan district attorney and attorneys for President Donald Trump have come to an agreement to pause the enforcement of a grand jury subpoena for Trump's tax returns until after an appeals court issues their opinion and perhaps until after the Supreme Court is asked to hear the case.

In a letter filed Monday with the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, lawyers from D.A. Cyrus Vance's office said they'll hold off on trying to enforce the subpoena against Trump's accounting firm until after the court of appeals publishes their opinion and after either one of the sides asks the Supreme Court to examine the case.

The two sides are set to face off in oral arguments before the 2nd Circuit on Wednesday, following a lower court's ruling that the accounting firm, Mazars USA, had to turn the documents over to the D.A.

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Vance's office is seeking to review eight years of tax records as part of a criminal investigation into the Trump Organization about hush money payments made to two women who have alleged affairs with Trump before he became president. Trump has denied having the affairs.

Trump's lawyers contend the D.A. isn't entitled to the returns and that a sitting president is not "subject to the criminal process" while in office. In a ruling earlier this month, a Manhattan federal court judge found that argument "repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional values."

Under the terms of the deal announced on Monday, Vance's office say they'd agree to postpone the enforcement of the subpoena until 10 days after the 2nd Circuit issues its opinion to give Trump's team time to appeal to the Supreme Court to hear the case in its current term or for Vance to appeal to the Supreme Court if the opinion isn't in their favor.

Prosecutors said they'll delay enforcement until the Supreme Court either declines to hear the case or issues an opinion. Trump's team, meanwhile, will withdraw their request for an emergency stay of the lower court's order.

The agreement does not change any of the legal arguments of the case.

The deal was first reported by Politico.

If the Supreme Court agrees to hear the case in the current term, they would likely issue a ruling by June. If it does not, there's a possibility they would not issue a ruling until after the 2020 election.