The US Supreme Court has paved the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain Donald Trump’s tax returns, in a major setback for the former President.
The documents will be subject to grand jury secrecy rules that restrict their public release.
The documents form part of a criminal investigation into Trump, who has long concealed deals of his finances. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is leading the investigation.
Trump issued a statement describing the investigation as part of “the greatest political witch hunt in the history of our country,” accusing New York Democrats of expending their energy on taking down a political opponent instead of tackling violent crimes.
“That’s fascism, not justice – and that is exactly what they are trying to do with respect to me, except that the people of our Country won’t stand for it,” Trump added.
The Supreme Court’s action does not require Trump to do anything. The records involved in the dispute were requested from a third-party, Mazars, not Trump himself.
The subpoenas span documents from January 2011 to August 2019, including his tax returns, from Mazars.
The documents relate to the Trump Organization’s employment of Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen and hush money payment Cohen allegedly made to two woman who claimed to have had extramarital affairs with Trump.
Although Trump’s personal lawyers may continue to fight their appeal in the case, the fact that the documents will be released by Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars, effectively ends the dispute.
A Mazars spokesman said the company “remains committed to fulfilling all of our professional and legal obligations.”
Unlike all other recent US presidents, Trump refused to make his tax returns public. The data could provide details on his wealth and the activities of his family real-estate company, the Trump Organization.