The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) gave the OK for a New York prosecutor to secure former President Donald Trump’s tax returns. However, the documents will remain subject to grand jury secrecy rules that will restrict access by the public.
Manhattan DA Acted in Bad Faith
The ruling on Trump’s appeal to withhold the records came back without any comment or dissent from the SC. It only contained the sentence “The application for a stay presented to Justice Breyer and referred to the Court is denied,” without any additional notes.
Meanwhile, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance expressed his elation over the order, posting the words “The work continues” in a tweet yesterday. The decision deals with a setback to Trump’s efforts to protect his financial records from disclosure. Still, lawyers said that Vance acted in bad faith when he requested the subpoena.
Investigation In Hush Money Payments
The grand jury investigation into alleged hush-money payments and other issues will now proceed. While Trump’s financial papers will remain restricted to the grand jury, the papers will see the light of day. Meanwhile, the Manhattan DA’s office expects access to the records within the next few days.
The subpoenas span Trump’s tax documents between January 2011 to August 2019 from his accounting contractor Mazars. In addition, these documents contain information related to the Trump Organization’s employment of Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen. Also, it includes details on alleged hush-money payments Cohen made to two women. Both claimed extramarital affairs with Trump.
Trump: It’s a Political Witch Hunt
In a statement, Trump said that the Vance investigation continues “the greatest political Witch Hunt” in United States history. “The Supreme Court never should have let this ‘fishing expedition’ happen, but they did. I will fight on, just as I have, for the last five years (even before I was successfully elected), despite all of the election crimes that were committed against me. We will win!” he said.
The former president’s accounting firm, Mazars, confirmed their turnover of documents to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. Mazars “committed to fulfilling all of our professional and legal obligations,” it said in a statement. “Due to our industry’s professional obligations Mazars cannot discuss any clients, or the nature of our services we provide for any client, in a public forum without client consent or as required by law,” they added.
Vance’s Persistent Efforts
Previously in 2020, Vance’s investigators requested records related to Trump’s 213-acre Seven Springs Estate site, which sprawls across three NY towns. Seven Springs is among the assets New York Attorney General Letitia James is trying to investigate. They are looking at whether the Trump Organization improperly adjusted the value of certain properties to get lower tax assessments. Vance also looked at loans Trump took out on Trump Tower and three other Manhattan properties.
Analysts expected the subpoenas will include income and expense statements filed by Trump’s company as part of requests for tax reduction for properties. Meanwhile, criminal defense lawyer Joseph Tacopina told CNBC that Vance insisted on securing these records. This suggests Vance knew something about the records that can show criminal conduct. “Cy Vance is fighting way too hard for this case to fall down. He seems to be on to something,” Tacopina said.
Watch the CNN News video where former President Donald Trump fires back at the US Supreme Court ruling by issuing a statement:
Do you agree with the Supreme Court’s decision to release Trump’s tax returns? What do you think will happen once the records go out? Let us know what you think about the latest legal hurdle thrown at former President Donald Trump. Share your comments below.