NEW YORK - A federal appeals court said Friday it wouldn't step in right away to delay New York prosecutors’ effort to get President Donald Trump's tax records, potentially leaving the Supreme Court as his most promising option to block prosecutors' subpoena.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied Trump’s request to immediately put Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.’s subpoena on hold while Trump appeals to try to get it invalidated.
The appeals court said it would hold a hearing on the request for a delay, but not until Sept. 1. After winning a lower court ruling, Vance's office had agreed not to enforce the subpoena before Aug. 28.
The office and Trump's lawyers didn't immediately comment on what the appeals court ruling might mean for that timeframe.
The case has already been to the Supreme Court and back, and Trump has said he expects it to end up there again.
Even if the tax records ultimately are subpoenaed, they would not automatically be made public, as they are being sought as part of a confidential grand jury investigation.
The Supreme Court ruled last month that the presidency in itself doesn’t shield Trump from Vance’s investigation.
But the high court returned the case to a Manhattan federal judge’s courtroom to allow Trump’s lawyers to raise other concerns about the subpoena. They did, arguing that it was issued in bad faith, might have been politically motivated and amounted to harassment.
U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero rejected those arguments — and then turned down a request from Trump’s lawyers to delay enforcement of the subpoena while they appeal his decision.
They asked the appeals court for the same delay and got Friday's answer.
Vance’s attorneys said they were legally entitled to extensive records to aid a “complex financial investigation.”
Vance, a Democrat, began seeking the Republican president’s tax returns from his longtime accounting firm over a year ago, after Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen told Congress that the president had misled tax officials, insurers and business associates about the value of his assets.
Trump has blasted the quest for his financial records as a “the most disgusting witch hunt in the history of our country.”