Trump bid to stop tax records being handed over to New York prosecutors declined by Supreme Court

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Chris Riotta
·3 min read
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En esta foto de archivo, el ex presidente de los Estados Unidos, Donald Trump, habla durante una conferencia de prensa en la Sala Brady Briefing de la Casa Blanca el 16 de septiembre de 2020, en Washington, DC. ((AFP via Getty Images))
En esta foto de archivo, el ex presidente de los Estados Unidos, Donald Trump, habla durante una conferencia de prensa en la Sala Brady Briefing de la Casa Blanca el 16 de septiembre de 2020, en Washington, DC. ((AFP via Getty Images))

The Supreme Court has declined a request from the former president, Donald Trump, to withhold his tax records from the Manhattan district attorney after New York state prosecutors sought his personal and corporate tax returns.

The move serves a post-presidency defeat to Mr Trump, who has for years battled to keep his tax records private, and paves the way for a New York grand jury to review his long-sought financial records.

On Monday, the nation’s highest court refused to block a lower court ruling, which had previously declined the former president’s request.

In a statement shortly after news broke of the Supreme Court decision, Manhattan district attorney Cy Vance said: “The work continues.”

The Supreme Court waited months to act in the case. The last of the written briefs in the case was filed in October, but a court that includes three of Mr Trump’s appointees waited through the election, Mr Trump’s challenge to his defeat and a month after he left office before issuing its order.

The court offered no explanation for the delay, and the legal issue before the justices did not involve whether Mr Trump was due any special deference because he was president.

The court’s order is a win for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr, who has been seeking Mr Trump’s tax records since 2019 as part of an investigation. Mr Vance, a Democrat, had subpoenaed the records from the Mazars accounting firm that has long done work for Mr Trump and his businesses.

Mazars has said it would comply with the subpoena, but Mr Trump sued to block the records’ release.

Mr Vance’s office had said it would be free to enforce the subpoena and obtain the records in the event the Supreme Court declined to step in and halt the records’ turnover, but it was unclear when that might happen.

The case the high court ruled in involves a grand jury subpoena for more than eight years of Mr Trump’s personal and corporate tax records. Mr Vance has disclosed little about what prompted him to request the records.

In one court filing last year, however, prosecutors said they were justified in demanding the records because of public reports of “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump organisation.”

Part of the probe involves payments to two women – porn actress Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal – to keep them quiet during the 2016 presidential campaign about alleged extramarital affairs with Trump. Trump has denied the affairs.

In July, the justices in a 7 to 2 ruling rejected Mr Trump’s argument that the president is immune from investigation while he holds office or that a prosecutor must show a greater need than normal to obtain the tax records.

Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, whom Trump nominated to the high court, joined that decision. It was issued before Mr Trump’s third nominee, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, replaced the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the court.

As part of its July decision, the high court returned the Vance case and a similar case involving records sought by Congress to lower courts. And the court prevented the records from being turned over while the cases proceeded.

Since the high court’s ruling, in the Vance case, Mr Trump’s attorneys made additional arguments that his tax records should not be turned over, but they lost again in federal court in New York and on appeal. It was those rulings that Mr Trump had sought to put on hold.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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