A federal judge on Monday rejected an argument from President Trump that sitting presidents are immune from criminal investigations.
The ruling allowed the Manhattan district attorney’s office to move forward with a subpoena seeking eight years of the president’s personal and corporate tax returns.
The ruling issued by Judge Victor Marrero of Manhattan federal court does not mean that the president’s tax returns will be turned over immediately. Mr Trump’s lawyers quickly appealed the decision, and the appeals court agreed to temporarily block the order.
The judge’s decision came a little more than a month after the Manhattan district attorney subpoenaed Mr Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, for his personal and corporate returns dating to 2011.
The demand touched off a legal showdown that raised new constitutional questions and drew in the Justice Department, which supported the president’s request to delay enforcement of the subpoena.
The district attorney’s office has been investigating whether any New York State laws were broken when Mr Trump and his company reimbursed the president’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, for payments he made in the run-up to the 2016 election to the pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels, who had said she had an affair with Mr Trump.
Mr Trump has denied having an affair with Ms Daniels.