Trump must turn over tax returns to NY prosecutors: court

Trump's legal team will likely appeal the ruling.

President Trump's accounting firm must turn over eight years of tax returns to New York prosecutors, a federal appeals court ruled on Monday.

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit refused to block a subpoena from a state grand jury for the president's accounting records, and rejected arguments from Trump's attorneys that it was unconstitutional because he was a sitting president.

"We hold, however, that any presidential immunity from state criminal process does not extend to investigative steps like the grand jury subpoena at issue here," the ruling stated. "We accordingly AFFIRM the district court's decision on the immunity question, which we construe as an order denying a preliminary injunction, VACATE the judgment of the district court dismissing the complaint on the ground of Younger abstention, and REMAND for further proceedings consistent with this opinion."

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President Donald Trump speaks to reporters upon arrival at the White House in Washington, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Trump's legal team responded shortly after Monday's decision was announced, writing in a statement that they plan to take the Second Circuit's decision to the Supreme Court.

"The issue raised in this case goes to the heart of our Republic," said Jay Sekulow, counsel to the president. "The constitutional issues are significant."

At the end of August, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., a Democrat, subpoenaed Mazars USA, arguing that they were part of "an ongoing state criminal prosecution," according to court papers.

Then, on Sept. 19, Trump sued Vance, a Democrat, and the accounting firm, calling the subpoena "unconstitutional."

"Because the Mazars subpoena attempts to criminally investigate a sitting president, it is unconstitutional," court papers argued. "This court should declare it invalid and enjoin its enforcement until the president is no longer in office."

FILE - In this April 18, 2017 file photo, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance arrives to talk to reporters at Manhattan Supreme Court, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

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But U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero dismissed the president's suit at the beginning of October, writing in his decision that they must "consider the reach of the President's argument."

JUDGE DENIES TRUMP'S TAX RETURN SUIT AGAINST MANHATTAN DA; PRESIDENT APPEALS DECISION

"As the Court reads it, presidential immunity would stretch to cover every phase of criminal proceedings, including investigations, grand jury proceedings and subpoenas, indictment, prosecution, arrest, trial, conviction, and incarceration. That constitutional protection presumably would encompass any conduct, at any time, in any forum, whether federal or state, and whether the President acted alone or in concert with other individuals."

The decision was subsequently appealed but was again rejected.

TRUMP ACCOUNTING FIRM MUST HAND OVER TAX RETURNS: DC CIRCUIT JUDGE

Vance's office declined to comment on Monday.

Fox News Chief White House Correspondent John Roberts contributed to this report.