With a new Monday order, the U.S. Supreme Court is now ordering the release of Trump’s tax returns to prosecutors in New York. Those prosecutors in the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, who is leading a criminal investigation into the Trump family business, are examining potential financial misconduct like tax and insurance fraud involving the ex-president. Their investigation has included dealings relating to a diverse array of Trump properties, from an estate in Westchester County, New York, to the former president’s infamous Trump Tower in New York City.
This new order marks the second time that the Supreme Court considered the case. The first time, they also ruled against Trump, who was still the president at the time and had argued that his status as commander-in-chief made him exempt from needing to comply with a subpoena from Vance’s office. The Supreme Court rejected this argument, concluding that Trump was not exempt from the requirements of basic criminal proceedings, but they allowed Trump to bring another challenge against the subpoena on different grounds. That challenge has now also failed, and the court’s order requiring the release of the tax returns was short and unsigned.
Trump failed on his way to the Supreme Court. When a three-judge panel of a federal appeals court in New York ruled unanimously ruled against Trump, they said, in part, as follows:
‘Any documents produced under the Mazars subpoena would be protected from public disclosure by grand jury secrecy rules, which greatly reduces the plausibility of the allegation that the district attorney is acting out of a desire to embarrass the president… There is nothing to suggest that these are anything but run-of-the-mill documents typically relevant to a grand jury investigation into possible financial or corporate misconduct.’
Vance’s original subpoena was for Mazars USA, Trump’s longtime accounting firm, and the company has indicated that they plan to comply with relevant court rulings. The New York Times recently published a series of articles including details of Trump’s tax returns, revealing that the ex-president “has sustained significant losses, owes enormous debts that he is personally obligated to repay, has avoided paying federal income taxes in 11 of the 18 years The Times examined and paid just $750 in both 2016 and 2017,” as the publication summarized in a new report. Although this information is publicly available, formal confirmation of the details now goes to Vance in the form of the actual records.