Supreme Court rejects Trump effort to shield tax records from NY prosecutors

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a last-ditch bid by former President Donald Trump to keep his financial records, including years of his tax returns, out of the hands of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.

The decision, the second time the nation’s highest court has refused to block a grand jury subpoena for those confidential records, was announced in an order with no noted dissents.

The news further imperils the ex-president, who is facing investigations in New York and elsewhere.

The legal battle over Trump’s financial records, including personal and business documents dating to 2011, comes in connection with an investigation by Vance’s office into potential tax violations involving the Trump Organization.

Vance’s probe originally appeared to have been focused on hush money payments made on Trump’s behalf to two women who have said they had affairs with him. Trump has denied their claims.

But court records and news reports suggest prosecutors are now examining more serious allegations.

A court filing last summer by Vance indicated that the probe could be eyeing possible “insurance and bank fraud by the Trump Organization and its officers.” In another filing, a month later, prosecutors suggested they might be investigating Trump for potential tax crimes.

Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, told Congress in 2019 that Trump improperly inflated and deflated the value of his real estate assets for tax and insurance purposes.

Vance’s filings appeared to reference Cohen’s testimony. One filing by prosecutors cited a  New York Times report Trump engaged in “dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud.”

In a statement, Cohen said: “The Supreme Court has now proclaimed that no one is above the law. Trump will, for the first time, have to take responsibility for his own dirty deeds.”

In late 2020, Vance’s investigators requested records from three towns in Westchester County, New York, as part of the probe. The records relate to Trump’s 213-acre Seven Springs Estate site, which sprawls across those towns.

That property is one of several Trump assets that New York Attorney General Letitia James is eyeing as part of a civil investigation into whether the Trump Organization improperly inflated and deflated the value of certain properties to receive financial benefits from doing so.

The Wall Street Journal reported this month that Vance’s office also is looking at loans Trump took out on Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, and three other properties in Manhattan: 40 Wall Street, the Trump Plaza apartment building and the Trump International Hotel and Tower.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Vance wrote: “The work continues.”

Source: CNBC

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