NEW YORK – President Donald Trump’s efforts to stall the release of his personal and corporate taxes to a New York state grand jury is jeopardizing the criminal probe of other individuals and entities and could “kill this case," an attorney told a judge Thursday in urging fast action.
“It isn’t just about the president," attorney Carey Dunne said of an investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. a week after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Vance's favor. “There are other individuals and entities who ... could end up above the law as a result of this delay."
Trump's attorney, William S. Consovoy, said the president believed there were strong arguments to be made that the subpoena was not “properly tailored" and instead copied verbatim portions of Congressional subpoenas.
“We continue to be deeply skeptical that a subpoena from New York County fortuitously is exactly the same scope and nature as two different Congressional investigations focused on federal issues," he said.
And he said Trump can still assert claims that the subpoena reflected “bad faith and harassment" a year after U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero rejected those arguments. Consovoy said claims last year related to the initiation of the investigation but now would focus solely on the subpoena.
At the conclusion of Thursday's hearing, Marrero said he would follow a schedule agreed to by both sides that calls for written submissions to be completed by mid-August.
He also expressed interest in resolving Trump's claims quickly, noting that lawyers submitted their arguments last year within six days.
Part of Vance's probe involves payments that Trump’s then-personal lawyer arranged during the 2016 presidential race to keep the porn actress Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal from airing claims of extramarital affairs with Trump. Trump has denied the affairs.
Vance, a Democrat, has requested eight years of the Republican president’s personal and corporate tax records.
Last week, t he Supreme Court rejected arguments by Trump’s lawyers and the Justice Department that the president cannot be investigated while he holds office or that a prosecutor must show a greater need than normal to obtain the tax records.
The top court returned the fight over the subpoena to Marrero, saying Trump’s lawyers may still challenge it in the same manner as anyone served with a subpoena.
Consovoy suggested that the president believes the new lower-court review cannot be quickly resolved.
He said “further investigation and review will certainly be necessary" before Trump decides on exactly what grounds the subpoena should be challenged.
He said, for instance, it must yet be decided whether to challenge the subpoena on grounds that it is retaliatory or that the president was targeted for political reasons.
Dunne, though, said delay was unnecessary because there was nothing new from a year ago.
“What the president’s lawyers are seeking here is delay. I think that’s the entire strategy here. Every day that goes by the president wins the type of absolute temporary immunity he has been seeking in this case, even though he has lost on that claim before every court that’s heard it, including now the Supreme Court," he added.
With deadlines for statutes of limitation looming, he asked the judge to “not let delay kill this case."
“Prevent the possibility here that justice delayed becomes justice denied," Dunne added.