Court Battles

Supreme Court declines to shield Trump’s tax returns from Manhattan DA

The Supreme Court on Monday rebuffed a bid by former President Trump to shield his tax returns and other financial records from a New York grand jury subpoena.

The justices issued the order in the long-running dispute between Trump and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. (D) without comment or noted dissents.

“The work continues,” Vance tweeted in response.

The court’s order comes in response to an emergency request Trump filed in October to the Supreme Court after losing several rounds in the lower courts.

Vance’s office has sought Trump’s records since 2019, when a New York grand jury issued a subpoena to Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, for eight years of the former president’s personal and business tax returns and other financial records. 

Vance’s office is looking into payments made to silence two women who allege they had affairs with Trump, including adult-film star Stormy Daniels. Trump’s former attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign finance law violations, has said the payments were made in order to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Additionally, Vance’s office has said its subpoena is part of an investigation into possible financial crimes by the Trump Organization.

Trump has tried unsuccessfully since 2019 to fend off the request. His filing in October marked the second time that Trump asked the justices to shield his records.

In July, the justices voted 7-2 to reject Trump’s argument that presidents have sweeping immunity from criminal proceedings but said Trump could pose other legal objections in the lower courts.

Trump then mounted unsuccessful litigation in New York-based federal district and appellate courts, claiming that the subpoena should be blocked because it is overly broad and was issued in bad faith and designed to harass the president. 

The justice’s Monday order effectively declined to halt the lower court rulings against Trump.

The former president blasted the decision in a statement, saying “the people of our Country won’t stand for” politically motivated prosecutions.

“The Supreme Court never should have let this ‘fishing expedition’ happen, but they did,” Trump said. “This is something which has never happened to a President before, it is all Democrat-inspired in a totally Democrat location, New York City and State, completely controlled and dominated by a heavily reported enemy of mine, Governor Andrew Cuomo.”

“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,” he added. “We will win!”

Trump’s attorney William Consovoy did not immediately respond when asked if the former president would submit additional filings to the Supreme Court related to the New York grand jury subpoena.

A separate lawsuit is before a federal district court judge in Washington, D.C., in a case about House Democrats’ request for Trump’s tax returns from the Treasury Department. 

The Trump administration had refused to comply with the request, which was made under a section of the federal tax code that says the Treasury secretary “shall furnish” returns requested by the chairs of Congress’s tax committees.

The Biden administration has not yet said how it will respond to House Democrats’ request. 

When asked Monday about the issue during a virtual event hosted by The New York Times, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that she “will seek legal advice on this and follow the law.”

Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee in federal district court in Washington, has ordered Treasury to give Trump’s personal lawyers 72 hours notice before providing the returns to House Democrats. That order expires March 3.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.), who issued the request for Trump’s tax returns to Treasury, said Monday’s action by the Supreme Court in the Manhattan district attorney case “once again affirmed that no one is above the law.”

“The necessity for the case I am pursuing is clear and I remain fully confident that we will prevail,” Neal said in a statement. “Our work continues, with the law on our side.”

Naomi Jagoda contributed. Updated at 2:43 p.m.

Tags Andrew Cuomo Donald Trump Janet Yellen Michael Cohen Richard Neal Supreme Court Tax returns

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