Trump v. Vance, No. 20-2766 (2d Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
President Trump filed suit against the District Attorney of the County of New York, alleging that a grand jury subpoena issued on August 29, 2019 by the District Attorney to Mazars USA, LLP, the President's accounting firm, is overbroad and was issued in bad faith. The subpoena directed Mazars to produce financial documents—including tax returns—relating to the President, the Trump Organization, and affiliated entities, dating back to 2011. The district court granted the District Attorney's motion to dismiss the second amended complaint based on failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
The Second Circuit affirmed, finding that the claim of overbreadth is not plausibly alleged for two interrelated reasons. First, the court concluded that the President's bare assertion that the scope of the grand jury's investigation is limited only to certain payments made by Michael Cohen in 2016 amounts to nothing more than implausible speculation. Second, the court concluded that, without the benefit of this linchpin assumption, all other allegations of overbreadth—based on the types of documents sought, the types of entities covered, and the time period covered by the subpoena, as well as the subpoena's near identity to a prior Congressional subpoena—fall short of meeting the plausibility standard. Finally, the court concluded that the President's allegations of bad faith fail to raise a plausible inference that the subpoena was issued out of malice or intent to harass. The court considered the President's remaining contentions on appeal and found no basis for reversal. The court ordered an interim stay of enforcement of the subpoena under the terms agreed to by the parties.