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Pete Williams and Jonathan Dienst
A federal appeals court on Tuesday temporarily blocked the Manhattan district attorney from getting access to President Donald Trump's tax returns.
A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York put a hold on a lower court ruling that said District Attorney Cyrus Vance could get the records immediately. The appeals court granted the stay so it can consider Trump's argument that a subpoena for the documents is overbroad and was issued in bad faith.
It was the first courtroom win for Trump's lawyers in more than a year of legal wrangling over the tax returns.
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Written briefs from the lawyers for both sides are due in the next few weeks, and the court will hold a hearing Sept. 25. If it rules against Trump — as the lower court did and as the appeals court did last time around — his lawyers would have to ask the Supreme Court to block access.
Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for Trump, said his legal team is pleased with the order.
"We look forward to arguing the merits on appeal," he said.
A spokesman for Vance's office declined to comment.
Vance is seeking financial documents, including eight years of tax returns, for a grand jury investigation of hush money payments and other financial transactions. A federal grand jury began its investigation after former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen paid Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about her claim that she had an affair with Trump, which he has denied. Cohen told Congress that the Trump Organization sometimes lied about its financial condition to evade taxes or to obtain favorable loan terms.
In July, the Supreme Court rejected Trump's contention that a sitting president is immune from any part of the criminal justice system, including grand jury investigations. But its decision said Trump could make the same arguments available to anyone else in trying to defeat the subpoena.
The case is now in its second round in court. A federal district court ruled last month against Trump's renewed effort to get the subpoena tossed out.