The United States Supreme Court denied a request by former President Donald Trump’s legal team to prevent the former president from having to provide his tax records to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.
The move comes several months after a petition was submitted by Trump’s lawyers to appeal a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, which had found it was proper for Vance to subpoena the tax records of the former president.
Vance had previously won the right to seek the records from Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, in a case that had also made its way to the Supreme Court. Lawyers for Trump had argued that, as Trump had been president at the time, he was immune from suits issued by state litigators, an argument that the High Court rejected by a 7-2 vote.
But the justices also agreed in that ruling that Trump could sue to keep his records private afterward, if he believed the subpoena from Vance was too broad. After Vance sought Trump’s records, that’s precisely what happened.
The move by the Court on Monday, however, means that those arguments from Trump’s lawyers, which were rejected in the lower appeals court, were meritless in the justices’ eyes.
“The work continues,” Vance said in a tweet following the ruling.
Vance is seeking records of Trump’s tax returns in order to thoroughly investigate a number of the former president’s financial dealings over the years. The inquiry by Vance began when he expressed concerns over revelations of alleged hush-money payments to adult film actor Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Vance has also said that he may be looking into more matters concerning Trump’s finances, including potential instances of tax and bank fraud.
Former lawyer Michael Cohen has testified to Congress that Trump lied about his earnings in order to benefit personally.
“It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes,” Cohen said in February 2019.
It’s possible that Trump’s tax records may never become public.
Previous reporting from The New York Times, suggests Trump had significant financial losses over the past two decades, and personally owes an enormous amount of debt. Tax filings show the former president paid $750 in both 2016 and 2017 tax years, and has not paid any federal income tax in 11 of the past 18 years.
Those alleged records obtained by The Times contradicted Trump’s attempt to portray himself as a successful, astute manager of his businesses. Indeed, Trump’s corporate bona fides were instrumental in his attempts to legitimate his presidential candidacy in 2016.
In 2016, Trump, who had promised to release his tax records publicly during the presidential campaign, reneged on that promise after claiming that an IRS audit prevented him from doing so, becoming the first major presidential candidate since 1976 not to release his records. (Trump also did not release his taxes in the 2020 presidential campaign.) The IRS issued its own statement at the time that said an audit would not prevent any candidate from being able to release their tax statements to the public.
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