The Supreme Court on Monday declined to halt the turnover of former president Donald Trump’s tax records to a New York prosecutor.
While the documents will be subject to grand jury secrecy rules that restrict their public release, the ruling is a loss for Trump, who has long fought to shield his financial records from prosecutors.
Trump had repeatedly argued that the subpoena issued by Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance, which includes documents from January 2011 to August 2019, was overbroad and issued in bad faith.
The documents from Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars, relate to the Trump Organization’s employment of Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen and a hush money payment Cohen allegedly made to two women who claimed to have had extramarital affairs with Trump.
Vance celebrated the ruling, which was issued without comment or noted dissent, saying in a tweet, “The work continues.”
The work continues.
— Cyrus Vance, Jr. (@ManhattanDA) February 22, 2021
While Trump’s personal lawyers may choose to fight their appeal in the case, the release of the documents by Mazars effectively ends the dispute, which began last July when the Supreme Court voted 7–2 to reject Trump’s claims of immunity from a state criminal subpoena seeking his tax returns.
The Court said then that, as president, Trump was not entitled to any kind of heightened standard unavailable to ordinary citizens and sent the case back down to the lower court so the president could make more targeted objections to the scope of the subpoena.
A federal appeals court said in October that “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.”
Trump’s personal lawyers brought the case back to the high court, requesting that it put the lower court ruling on hold while the justices considered whether to take up the appeal.
“The subpoena is geographically sprawling, temporally expansive, and topically unlimited — all attributes that raise suspicions of an unlawful fishing expedition,” Trump’s lawyer William Consovoy argued.
He added that, “even if disclosure is confined to the grand jury and prosecutors,” once the documents are surrendered, confidentiality “will be lost for all time.”