Sept. 15, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
State Sen. Mike Gianaris has introduced a bill aimed at preventing U.S. President Donald Trump from avoiding criminal prosecution — and force him to produce his tax returns.
The bill, called the “No Citizen Is Above The Law Act,” would make it harder for President Trump – and future presidents — to avoid being prosecuted in New York state if accused of criminal wrongdoing.
The legislation, if passed, would pause the statute of limitations from running out in criminal cases brought against a sitting President of the United States.
The bill was introduced on Sept. 9 and seeks to thwart Trump’s efforts of using federal courts to shield him from handing over his tax returns to state prosecutors.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has subpoenaed the president’s tax returns as part of an investigation into the Trump Organization’s business dealings.
Under current law, Trump is entitled to presidential immunity from prosecution and can run out the statute of limitations on criminal charges. The method of letting the clock run down on the statute of limitations is often referred to as tolling.
Gianaris said that his bill would ensure that laws are applied equally to all citizens – including the President of the United States.
“This president and any who follow should be held accountable for their illegal acts,” Gianaris said in a statement Monday.
“We must close the loophole that allows residents to exploit statutes of limitations coupled with presidential immunity to forever escape culpability for malfeasance,” he said.
Gianaris’ bill, which was also introduced in the State Assembly by Brooklyn Assemblyman Nick Perry, would allow state prosecutors to pursue charges against a former president if warranted.
The move comes after Trump won another delay last week in the long-running legal battle over whether he must turn over eight years of tax returns to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
However, Ed Cox, the Trump campaign’s New York co-fundraising chairman, told the New York Post that Gianaris’ bill would be struck down as unconstitutional should it become law.
“It is aimed at one person, Donald Trump. You can’t do that,” said Cox, who is the former chairman of the New York State Republican Party
“They don’t like Donald Trump and what he stands for. It’s all political. He’s been too good a conservative,” Cox said.