American judge allies with New York AG in Trump's tax return lawsuit

Court orders Trump to turn over tax returns

A United States federal judge on Monday dismissed New York's attorney general and state tax commissioner as defendants in President Donald Trump's lawsuit seeking to block a House of Representatives committee from obtaining his NY state tax returns.

The New York law allows House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal to see Trump's state returns upon request.

"Even if Mr. Trump alleged that either New York Defendant was involved in the legislative process, he cites no authority for the proposition that enacting or helping to enact a state statute in another state would constitute "transacting business" in the District of Columbia", the judge wrote, knocking done one of several of Trump's arguments that the dispute over the New York law could be adjudicated in Washington, D.C.

Lawyers for the state of NY demanded the case either be dismissed or transferred to the Southern District of NY, arguing Nichols did not have authority over the state's laws or officials.

"We have no oversight over New York State taxes", Neal said.

The New York case had lagged far behind the others, though it had more potential to make Trump's tax information publicly available than another case, involving a Manhattan grand jury, now headed for the Supreme Court.

"Based on the current allegations, Mr. Trump has not met his burden of establishing personal jurisdiction over either of the NY defendants", Judge Nichols wrote.

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Nichols ruled his court doesn't have jurisdiction because the NY officials charged with administering the law have too little connection to the capital. Congress hadn't yet requested his state tax returns under the law.

Trump also claimed he could be hurt, for the purposes of a lawsuit, in Washington.

"We are reviewing the opinion", Trump's personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, said in a statement Monday.

Federal District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington, DC, said he lacked jurisdiction over Letitia James, the attorney general, and Michael Schmidt, commissioner of the state Department of Taxation and Finance.

NY state tax officials agreed to not hand over the tax returns any sooner than seven days after Nichols made a ruling of where the case should be heard.

Trump has called the pursuit of his private financial information an attempt at political gain, and accused NY lawmakers of violating his First Amendment rights by trying to discriminate and retaliate against him "for his speech and politics". "We're serving up the president's state tax returns on a silver platter - why don't they request them?"

Separately, the House Ways and Means Committee has sought six years of Trump's federal tax returns, from 2013 to 2018, as part of an investigation into the audit program at the Internal Revenue Service.

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