United States District Judge Victor Marrero on Monday rejected the nation’s President, Donald Trump’s argument that being a president makes him immune to any investigation by any prosecutor.
This came during a judgement on a lawsuit seeking to block the Manhattan District Attorney from obtaining the Trump’s tax returns as part of an investigation into hush-money payments during the 2016 campaign, according to BBC report.
In his 75-page ruling, Marrero called such a claim “extraordinary” and wrote that “This Court cannot endorse such a categorical and limitless assertion of presidential immunity from judicial process.” The ruling allows District Attorney Cyrus Vance (D) to enforce a subpoena he sent to Trump’s longtime accountants, Mazars USA.
Trump had filed an unorthodox lawsuit seeking to stop that subpoena, saying that he would suffer “irreparable harm” if prosecutors obtained his tax returns. The Justice Department also took Trump’s side in the case.
The Post reported that in the lawsuit, Trump said that Vance did not need eight years of his tax returns to examine whether any laws were broken by the 2016 payments and called the subpoena to Mazars “a bad-faith effort to harass the President by obtaining and exposing his private financial information, not a legitimate attempt to enforce New York law.”
In his ruling Monday, Judge Marrero recognised that subjecting presidents to some aspects of criminal proceedings could interfere with presidential duties. But the judge rejected Trump’s claim of “absolute immunity from criminal process of any kind.”
“As the Court reads it, presidential immunity would stretch to cover every phase of criminal proceedings,” he wrote. “The constitutional dimensions of the presidential shield from the judicial process are virtually limitless.” Marrero was appointed to the federal bench in 1999 by President Bill Clinton.