Former President Donald Trump suffered a major setback on Monday in his long quest to conceal details of his finances as the U.S. Supreme Court paved the way for a New York prosecutor to obtain the former president’s tax returns and other records as part of an accelerating criminal investigation.
The financial documents will be subject to grand jury secrecy rules that restrict their public release.
The ruling is a bitter loss for Donald Trump, even if the tax records are shielded from public exposure after he consistently argued that the subpoena issued by Cyrus Vance (Manhattan District Attorney) was overbroad and given in dirty faith.
The justices without remark rebuffed Mr. Trump’s request to put on hold an October 7 lower court ruling directing the GOP businessman’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, to comply with a subpoena to turn over the materials to a grand jury convened by Cyrus Vance, a Democrat.
Moreover, it signifies that the grand jury investigation into alleged hush-money payments and other issues will no longer be hampered by Mr. Trump’s fight to keep the financial documents secret. According to sources familiar with the matter, the district attorney’s office expected to access the documents within the coming few days.
U.S. Supreme Court’s one-sentence order denying Donald Trump’s appeal to shield his tax returns
The court released this one-sentence order.
TRUMP, DONALD J. V. VANCE, CYRUS R., ET AL.
The application for a stay presented to Justice Breyer and referred to the Court is denied.
Cyrus Vance celebrated the court order, saying in a tweet that ‘The work continues.’
The subpoenas span documents from Jan. 2011 to Aug. 2019, including his tax returns, from Mazars. The records relate to the Donald Trump Organization’s employment of Michael Cohen (Trump’s former lawyer) and hush money payment Cohen supposedly made to two women who claimed to have had extramarital affairs with Mr. Trump.
Moreover, the former President says the Vance investigation is a prolongation of the greatest political Witch Hunt in the USA’s history.
He added that the Supreme Court should never have let this ‘fishing expedition’ happen, but they did.
In a statement, Mazars claims its commitment to fulfilling all of its professional and legal obligations.
Moreover, the company states Owing to their industry’s professional obligations, Mazars can’t discuss any clients or the nature of their services they offer for any client, in a public forum without client consent or as mandatory by law.
Donald Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes
The Supreme Court, voting 7-2, rejected last July Mr. Trump’s comprehensive claims of immunity from a state criminal subpoena seeking his tax returns and said that as U.S. president, he wasn’t entitled to any heightened standard unavailable to ordinary citizens.
The justices referred the case back to the lower court so that the president could make more targeted objections regarding the subpoena’s scope.
In October, a federal appeals court stated there is nothing to recommend that these are anything but run-of-the-mill documents typically pertinent to a grand jury investigation into possible financial or corporate misconduct.
Mr. Trump’s lawyers then took the case back to the SC, urging the justices to put the lower court ruling on hold while the judges considered whether to take up the appeal.
Michael Cohen said that the Supreme Court has now proclaimed ‘no one is above the law.’ For the first time, Mr. Trump will have to take responsibility for his dirty deeds.
However, on Monday, the court separately turned away Daniels’ bid to revive her defamation lawsuit against Donald Trump.
Furthermore, the Democratic-led United States House of Representatives is seeking similar Donald Trump records from Deutsche Bank and Mazars in separate litigation.
Last year, The New York Times reported that Trump had paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017 and no income taxes in ten of the prior fifteen years, reflecting chronic business losses he used to avoid paying taxes. But, Mr. Trump has disputed the Times report.