In an opinion this morning, Judge Marrero dismissed President Trump’s lawsuit (see prior coverage here) seeking to block enforcement of a grand jury subpoena from the Manhattan District Attorney that seeks (among other things) Trump’s tax returns.
Judge Marrero concluded that, while presidents may enjoy some measure of immunity from criminal process in some circumstances, Trump’s “sweeping” claim of absolute immunity from any criminal process went too far:
The President asserts an extraordinary claim in the dispute now before this Court. He contends that, in his view of the President’s duties and functions and the allocation of governmental powers between the executive and the judicial branches under the United States Constitution, the person who serves as President, while in office, enjoys absolute immunity from criminal process of any kind.
. . . .
The Court recognizes that subjecting the President to some aspects of criminal proceedings could impermissibly interfere with or even incapacitate the President’s ability to discharge constitutional functions. Certainly lengthy imprisonment upon conviction would produce that result. But . . . that consequence would not necessarily follow every stage of every criminal proceeding. In particular that concern would not apply to the specific set of facts presented here to which the Court’s holding is limited: the President’s compliance with a grand jury subpoena issued in the course of a state prosecutor’s criminal investigation of conduct and transactions relating to third persons that occurred at least in part prior to the President assuming office, that may or may not have involved the President, but that at this phase of the proceedings demand review of records the President possesses or controls.
Judge Marrero added that adopting Trump’s position would place him “above the law” and was “repugnant” to constitutional values:
Bared to its core, the proposition the President advances reduces to the very notion that the Founders rejected at the inception of the Republic, and that the Supreme Court has since unequivocally repudiated: that a constitutional domain exists in this country in which not only the President, but, derivatively, relatives and persons and business entities associated with him in potentially unlawful private activities, are in fact above the law . . . [T]his Court finds aspects of such a doctrine repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional values . . . .
Trump has already filed an emergency notice of appeal.