Washington — A federal judge in New York has dismissed the second effort by President Trump to block the Manhattan district attorney from gaining access to troves of his financial records, including his tax returns, ruling the president must hand over the information to state prosecutors.
The order from U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero grants a request from New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance to dismiss Mr. Trump's second complaint, which again challenged the validity of the grand jury subpoena from Manhattan's chief prosecutor, arguing it was overbroad and issued in bad faith.
"Justice requires an end to this controversy," Marrero wrote in his 103-page ruling.
Mr. Trump was attempting to block Vance from obtaining eight years of his financial and tax records as part of a criminal investigation into his business dealings and hush-money payments made to two women who claimed they had affairs with the president years before he was elected.
The ruling by Marrero is the latest setback for the president in his attempt to keep his business records out of Vance's hands. Vance first issued his subpoena to Mazars USA, the president's longtime accounting firm, last year, but Mr. Trump challenged the request in federal court, arguing he was entitled to "absolute immunity" from state criminal proceedings while in office.
The federal district court and the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the president, leading to his appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. In May, the high court ruled 7-2 that Vance could access Mr. Trump's financial records but sent the case back to the lower courts for further proceedings. The Supreme Court rejected Mr. Trump's assertion of absolute immunity from state criminal subpoenas but allowed the president to challenge the validity of the subpoena on other grounds.
Marrero said the claims Mr. Trump raised in his second complaint "would prolong the president's noncompliance with the grand jury's demand for the documents in dispute" and potentially allow the statute of limitations to run out, protecting Mr. Trump from scrutiny.
"At its core, it amounts to absolute immunity through a back door, an entry point through which not only a President but also potentially other persons and entities, public and private, could effectively gain cover from judicial process," he wrote.
Mr. Trump appealed the ruling to the 2nd Circuit and is asking the district court to put its ruling on hold pending his appeal. He told reporters at the White House the case would "probably end up back in the Supreme Court."
"This is just a continuation of the most hideous witch hunt in the history of our country," the president said.