New York prosecutors can get Trump tax returns, court rules


Vance’s office has agreed not to enforce the subpoena while Trump petitions the Supreme Court. Under the agreement, Trump has 10 business days to file the petition.

Trump, who built a real estate empire with his New York-based business before becoming President, also faces an impeachment inquiry in the Democratic-led US House of Representatives.

Lawyers for Trump could not immediately be reached for comment. A spokesman for Vance declined comment.

Trump has refused to make his tax returns public, breaking with a decades-old tradition of US presidential candidates releasing their returns during campaigns and presidents disclosing them while in office. More broadly, Trump has fought efforts by Democrats in Congress and others to obtain information about his finances and a range of other matters.

In a similar dispute, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in May refused to release Trump’s tax returns to a House committee, saying the request was not based on “a legitimate legislative purpose.” The House then sued the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service in July to try to get access to the tax records. The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on October 11 ruled in favour of the House bid to obtain Trump’s financial records from Mazars.

In August, Vance subpoenaed Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns from 2011 to 2018, and other records from Mazars USA, the President’s long-time accounting firm. Trump sued Vance’s office in Manhattan federal court to try to block the subpoena, arguing that as a sitting president, he cannot be subject to criminal investigation.

On October 7, US District Judge Victor Marrero threw out Trump’s lawsuit, calling his claim of immunity “repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional values.” The ruling prompted Trump’s appeal to the 2nd Circuit.

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Arguing before the appeals court on October 23, a lawyer for Trump made the claim of immunity more explicit, saying state authorities would be powerless to act against the President even if he shot someone on the street unless he were removed from office first.

Trump filed his own lawsuit in July seeking to block the House Ways and Means Committee from invoking a New York law that allows it to request his state tax returns. That case remains pending.

The House impeachment inquiry focuses on the President’s request in a July phone call for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate a domestic political rival, Joe Biden, the former vice president and a top contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination to face Trump.

Reuters

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