A federal appeals court ruled this week that President Donald Trump's accounting firm must turn over his tax returns to New York state prosecutors.
The Manhattan district attorney's office subpoenaed eight years of Trump's corporate and personal taxes as part of an investigation into whether the Trump Organization violated New York laws by fabricating business records connected to hush-money payments made to women who have alleged affairs with the president.
Trump's lawyers have sought to block the subpoena from the Manhattan District Attorney's office on the broad and legally dubious claim that while he's in office, Trump is immune not just from criminal prosecution but from investigation as well.
Last month, one of the three judges on the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York expressed skepticism toward that argument and alluded to a statement Trump made during the 2016 election, when he said that he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and still not lose any supporters.
When Judge Denny Chin pressed Trump's lawyer, William Consovoy, about the limits of presidential immunity and referenced "the 5th Avenue example," Consovoy argued that local law enforcement authorities could not investigate Trump even if he shot someone on 5th Avenue.
While Trump is in office, "nothing can be done, that's your position?" Chin asked Consovoy.
"That is correct, that is correct," Consovoy replied.
When Trump first sued to block the Manhattan DA's subpoena of his accounting firm, Mazars USA, the judge in the case said the president's legal team was making an "extraordinary" reach that was "repugnant to the nation's governmental structure and constitutional values."
US District Judge Victor Marrero wrote in his ruling that Trump's argument implied "the constitutional dimensions of the presidential shield from judicial process are virtually limitless."
Until the president leaves office, "his exemption from criminal proceedings would extend not only to matters arising from the performance of the President's duties and functions in his official capacity, but also to ones arising from his private affairs, financial transactions, and all other conduct undertaken by him as an ordinary citizen both during and before his tenure in office," the ruling said.