A federal judge has paved the way to forcing U.S. President Donald Trump to hand over eight years of tax returns to a Manhattan district attorney, as the court rejected the idea that the sitting occupant of the White House cannot be investigated.
Judge Victor Marrero of Manhattan federal court found that there were no grounds for an argument from Trump’s legal team that an investigation would impede the president’s ability to carry out his constitutional duties.
Lawyers for Trump plan to appeal the ruling, CNN and The New York Times reported.
The ruling rejects the idea that the president is totally immune from all criminal processes, saying that no one is above the law, while also noting that Trump effectively sought to shield his family, not only himself.
Opponents have long sought the wealthy real estate mogul’s tax returns, and Trump, breaking with decades of tradition, refused to release the documents when he ran for high office.
Manhattan district attorney Cyrus R Vance Jr is seeking the tax returns as part of an investigation into alleged hush money payments to two women, including the adult film star Stormy Daniels.
Vance’s case involves Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer who is now in jail, and whether any illegal campaign contributions were made as part of his efforts to pay Daniels.
Trump has denied having an affair with the actress.
Vance is a Democrat, and his efforts are being painted by the Trump side as an effort by political opponents to go after the president.