While the records won’t be immediately available to the public, the move is nonetheless a devastating blow to the former president.
The Supreme Court will allow a New York prosecutor to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax records.
According to CNN, the documents will still be subject to grand jury secrecy rules—which means the American public may not get a glimpse at the ex-president’s records any time in the near future. However, the ruling is nonetheless a devastating blow to Trump, whose attorneys fought long and hard to ensure his tax information remained confidential.
No matter the public implications, the Supreme Court’s verdict will have broader consequences. The justices have, in effect, allowed Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance to continue his investigation into hush-money payments issued by Trump to women he paid for sex.
CNN notes that the justices’ order was delivered without much ceremony—they did not include any comment, nor did any member of the bench voice dissent.
Vance, says CNN, had repeatedly tried to subpoena Trump’s financial information, including—but not limited to—his tax records.
With the Supreme Court’s go-ahead, Vance will now be able to obtain an array of Trump-related documents spanning the years 2011 to August 2019.
Most of the papers relate to Trump Organization-issued payments to former Trump attorney Michael Cohen.
Cohen, adds CNN, claimed he had been directed by Donald Trump to send money to at least two women with whom the ex-president is said to have had extramarital affairs.
Not surprisingly, Trump has decried the entire investigation as an epic—and markedly unfair—witch hunt.
In a statement, Trump said that Vance’s requests are but “a continuation of the greatest political Witch Hunt n the history of our country.”
“The Supreme Court,” Trump added, “should never have let this ‘fishing expedition’ happen, but they did.”
Last July, the Supreme Court voted 7-2 to reject President Trump’s wide-ranging claims of executive immunity. Trump had long maintained that, as a sitting president, he was exempt from many of the rules and restrictions which ordinary Americans are bound to follow.
But justices firmly discarded Trump’s argument, sending the case back to lower court wherein Trump would have another opportunity to defend himself.
A federal appeals court later found that the documents Trump says should remain secret are “run-of-the-mill” papers that are “typically relevant to a grand jury investigation into possible financial or corporate misconduct.”
Unfortunately for the president, his accounting firm—Mazars—has said it will follow the court’s orders. However, Mazars did refuse to respond to CNN’s request for comment.
“Due to our industry’s professional obligations Mazars cannot discuss any clients, or the nature of our services we provide for any client, in a public forum without client consent or as required by law,” Mazars said in a statement.