US President Donald Trump’s efforts to stall the release of his personal and corporate taxes to a New York state grand jury is jeopardising other criminal investigations, a judge was told on Thursday.
Lawyer Carey Dunne urged fast action, telling US District Judge Victor Marrero hesitation could “kill this case”.
He added Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr’s inquiry “isn’t just about the president”.
“There are other individuals and entities who … could end up above the law as a result of this delay,” the prosecutor said.
Mr Trump’s lawyer William Consovoy said the president believes there are strong arguments to be made that the summons were not “properly tailored” and instead copied verbatim portions of Congressional writs.
“We continue to be deeply sceptical that a subpoena from New York County fortuitously is exactly the same scope and nature as two different Congressional investigations focused on federal issues,” he said.
Mr Consovoy said the president can still assert claims the subpoena reflected “bad faith and harassment”, a year after Mr Marrero rejected those arguments.
The lawyer said claims last year related to the initiation of the investigation but will now focus solely on the subpoena.
At the conclusion of Thursday’s hearing, Mr Marrero said he will follow a schedule agreed to by both sides that calls for written submissions to be completed by mid-August.
He also expressed interest in resolving Mr Trump’s claims quickly, noting lawyers submitted their arguments within six days last year.
Part of Mr Vance’s investigation involves payments that Mr Trump’s then-personal lawyer arranged during the 2016 presidential race to keep the pornographic actress Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal from airing claims of extramarital affairs with him.
Mr Trump denies the affairs.
Democrat Mr Vance has requested eight years of the Republican president’s personal and corporate tax records.
What the president’s lawyers are seeking here is delayLawyer Carey Dunne
Last week, the Supreme Court rejected arguments by Mr Trump’s lawyers and the Justice Department that the president cannot be investigated while he holds office or that a prosecutor must show a greater need than normal to obtain the tax records.
The court returned the fight over the subpoena to Mr Marrero, saying Mr Trump’s lawyers may still challenge it in the same manner as anyone served with a subpoena.
Mr Consovoy suggested the president believes the new lower-court review cannot be quickly resolved.
He said “further investigation and review will certainly be necessary” before Mr Trump decides on exactly what grounds the subpoena should be challenged.
His lawyer said, for instance, it must yet be decided whether to challenge the subpoena on grounds that it is retaliatory or that the president was targeted for political reasons.
Mr Dunne, though, said delay is unnecessary because there is nothing new from a year ago.
“What the president’s lawyers are seeking here is delay,” he said.
“I think that’s the entire strategy here. Every day that goes by the president wins the type of absolute temporary immunity he has been seeking in this case, even though he has lost on that claim before every court that’s heard it, including now the Supreme Court.”
With deadlines for statutes of limitation looming, he asked the judge to “not let delay kill this case”.