A federal judge refereeing a dispute over President Donald Trump’s state tax returns said he is leaning toward allowing New York to make a bid to have the case moved to that state.
A hearing Wednesday focused almost entirely on a proposal by a lawyer for New York who said state officials would agree to hold off delivering Trump’s state tax filings to House Democrats in return for a chance to challenge the D.C.-based court’s jurisdiction over the issue. Andrew Amer, representing the state, wants the case moved to New York, where legislators recently passed a law allowing state officials to hand over Trump’s tax returns if they are requested by the Democrats.
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“I am leaning towards adopting the New York proposal,” said District Court Judge Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee.
A lawyer for Trump, William Consovoy, sounded resigned to the proposal, while lawyers representing House Democrats said they did not have an opinion on it.
The question of jurisdiction will likely not be resolved for several weeks.
Nichols has found himself in a conundrum in the case, in which Trump is seeking a restraining order to prevent Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal from taking advantage of the New York law. Neal has not said whether he intends to request the tax filings.
Nichols said he doesn’t want to rule on restraining a request by Neal until the Massachusetts Democrat actually makes one, saying he doesn’t know what exactly Neal might want or why. But Nichols said he also doesn’t want the case to become moot if Neal gets Trump’s returns before the case is settled.
The judge asked the three sides earlier this week to try to come up with a compromise, but they were unable to agree on a plan. New York instead offered to hold off delivering any requested documents while the issue of jurisdiction is being decided.
The state said it would wait a week after any court decision before handing over any tax filings, in order to give Trump a chance to respond.