Federal judge blocks California from enforcing tax return law aimed at Trump

Cheryl Sanders
September 20, 2019

A federal judge has ordered a temporary injunction against the California law requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns to secure a spot on the state's presidential primary ballot - a law aimed at President Donald Trump, who has not released his tax returns.

Federal Judge Morrison England, Jr., a George W. Bush appointee on the US District Court for the Eastern District of California, said there would be "irreparable harm without temporary relief" for Trump and other candidates without the injunction, The Los Angeles Times reported.

But Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow told The Associated Press the lawsuit is intended "to address the significant constitutional issues at stake in this case".

President Donald Trump on Thursday sued both his longtime accounting firm Mazars USA and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance in an attempt to prevent his accounting records from being turned over to the state prosecutor as part of a sweeping investigation into hush money payments during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The move was part of his criminal investigation into the alleged hush money payments to two women, porn star Stormy Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford) and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who say they had affairs with Trump, claims he has denied.

A message was left with Vance seeking comment.

Vance office sent a subpoena to Trump's accounting firm seeking the last eight years of state and federal tax returns for Trump and his company, the Trump Organization. In the meantime, Vance has agreed "to stay enforcement of and compliance with the subpoena" issued to Mazars LLP.

In a statement, Mazars said the firm will "respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations".

Cohen, who made one of the payments himself and arranged for American Media Inc., the parent company of the National Enquirer, to pay the other, pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations, tax evasion and other crimes and is serving a three-year sentence. Even if Trump gets another win when England Jr. rules, that ruling will nearly certainly be appealed by the State of California.

According to the Times, Vance issued his subpoenas soon after opening a criminal probe into what role Trump and his family business, the Trump Organization, played in hush-money payments prior to the 2016 election.

And in July, the president sued to block the application of a new state law in NY that could allow a House committee to obtain his state tax returns.

Califiornia's Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill into law in July.

The law, if implemented, would keep President Trump off of the primary ballot in the state if he does not make public his tax returns.

In July the Democrat-controlled Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives sued the Treasury Department to force the release of Trump's tax records.

Other reports by iNewsToday