Trump attorneys ask to toss out subpoena of tax preparer's documents

The president's attorney says the subpoena for tax documents amounts to an "arbitrary fishing expedition."
Image: President Donald Trump returns to the White House on April 15, 2019.
President Donald Trump returns to the White House on April 15, 2019.Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images file

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By Tom Winter and Pete Williams

Attorneys for President Donald Trump have again asked a judge to toss a grand jury subpoena issued against his tax preparer for financial documents, saying it is "overbroad" and was brought in bad faith, according to a filing in federal court in New York.

The filing follows a decision by the Supreme Court this month that said the president is not immune from a grand jury subpoena while he or she is in office.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the decision: "Since the earliest days of the Republic, 'every man' has included the president of the United States. Beginning with Jefferson and carrying on through Clinton, presidents have uniformly testified or produced documents in criminal proceedings when called upon by federal courts."

He added: "(W)e cannot conclude that absolute immunity is necessary or appropriate under Article II or the Supremacy Clause."

The decision was sent back to the lower courts, where, the Supreme Court said, Trump can try to quash or toss the subpoena through arguments that any other person could bring and not simply because he is president.

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Trump attorney William Consovoy argued in Monday's filing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan that "the subpoena seeks voluminous documents that have no relation to the grand jury's investigation and instead relate to topics and entities that far exceed the District Attorney's jurisdiction under New York law."

The Manhattan district attorney's office filed the subpoena last year against Mazars USA LLC, the firm that prepares Trump's taxes.

Consovoy said the subpoena is "overbroad" and "amounts to an arbitrary fishing expedition" in part because some of the requested documents concern businesses entities located in other states and outside the country.

"The subpoena amounts to harassment of the President in violation of his legal rights," he said. Consovoy repeated an earlier argument that the request essentially copied a House subpoena as evidence that it was political in nature.

In a statement following the Supreme Court's decision, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said, "Our investigation, which was delayed for almost a year by this lawsuit, will resume, guided as always by the grand jury's solemn obligation to follow the law and the facts, wherever they may lead."

A federal judge took the unusual step two weeks ago to push the case forward by asking both sides to file the appropriate briefs and motions. Monday's filing by Trump's attorneys is an amended complaint in his lawsuit against Vance and his office, which kicked off the legal battle in September.