US Supreme Court refuses to halt turnover of Donald Trump's tax records to New York prosecutors

The nation's highest court delivered a blow to the ex-president, who has been waging a protracted legal battle to prevent his tax records from being handed over to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance

Agence France-Presse February 22, 2021 21:59:17 IST
US Supreme Court refuses to halt turnover of Donald Trump's tax records to New York prosecutors

File image of Donald Trump. AP

New York: The US Supreme Court on Monday rejected a bid by Donald Trump to prevent his tax records from being handed over to prosecutors in New York.

The nation's highest court denied the request filed by lawyers for the former president without comment.

Trump has been waging a protracted legal battle to prevent his tax records from being handed over to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.

The prosecutor has been fighting for months to obtain eight years of Trump's tax returns as part of an investigation into the ex-president's finances.

The ruling concerns a subpoena that Vance had issued to Trump's accountants Mazars USA ordering it to hand over documents stretching back to 2011.

"The work continues," Vance said in a three-word statement issued after the ruling.

Vance's probe was initially focused on payments made before the 2016 presidential election to two women who claim they had affairs with Trump, including porn star Stormy Daniels.

But the state-level investigation is also now examining possible allegations of tax evasion, and insurance and bank fraud.

Trump, who left the White House last month, did not immediately respond to Monday's ruling.

In the past, he has called the investigation "the worst witch hunt in US history."

US presidents are not required by law to release details of their personal finances but every US leader since Richard Nixon has done so.

Trump broke with this tradition.

Vance's investigators have interviewed Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, who received a three-year prison term after admitting to making hush payments to the two women.

The ex-lawyer had testified to Congress that Trump and his company artificially inflated and devalued the worth of their assets to both obtain bank loans and reduce their taxes.

If the allegations are true and Trump was charged and convicted then he could face a possible jail term. Unlike federal offences, state crimes are not pardonable.

Investigators also recently interviewed employees of Deutsche Bank, which has long backed the former president and the Trump Organization, US media reported.

They spoke to staff at Trump's insurance broker Aon, too.

In July, the Supreme Court rejected Trump's argument that as a sitting president he was immune from prosecution.

Trump's lawyers then challenged the scope of the requested documents, saying it was too broad.

New York's Attorney General Letitia James is also investigating allegations of bank fraud and insurance fraud through civil proceedings.

Ahead of the November 3 election, the New York Times reported that Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017, a claim the former president denies.

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