Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Supreme Court forces Trump to release tax returns


“The work continues.” Asked by lawyers for Donald Trump, the Supreme Court refused to overturn the decision of a federal judge who had ordered the delivery of eight years of tax and banking returns to Manhattan prosecutor, Cyrus Vance, who has been claiming them for months .

Vance had issued a first subpoena to Mazars, Donald Trump’s accounting firm, in August 2019, to request the New York mogul’s tax returns from 2011 to 2018. The billionaire’s lawyers had (already) requested the most highest court of the United States to challenge the extent of the requested documents. Their main argument, consisting in hammering that as president in office, Trump was immune from criminal investigations, had not been accepted by the Supreme Court, yet composed of two-thirds of Republican judges, including three appointed by Trump.

Lawyers for the septuagenarian then argued in lower courts that the subpoena was too broad and amounted to political harassment. Allegations rejected twice: one in August by Judge Victor Marrero, the other in October by the Second US Court of Appeal based in New York. Had it been in his favor, the Supreme Court ruling on Monday would have been Trump’s last chance to keep his financial documents confidential. It missed.

“Take responsibility for your actions”

Cyrus Vance’s investigation, which began over two years ago, originally focused on payments made to the billionaire’s two alleged mistresses – pornstar Stormy Daniels and the former Playboy model. Karen McDougal – By former Trump attorney Michael Cohen ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Heard behind closed doors before a grand jury, she is now examining possible allegations of tax evasion, insurance fraud or bank fraud.

According to several American media including the New York Times, Manhattan sleuths recently interviewed employees of Deutsche Bank – long the financial backer of Donald Trump and his holding company, the Trump Organization – and his insurance company, Aon.

They also re-interviewed Michael Cohen, who is serving a prison sentence. Heard behind closed doors by a congressional committee, he asserted in early 2019 that the billionaire and his company artificially inflated or reduced the value of their assets to alternately obtain bank loans or reduce their taxes. “The Supreme Court has now declared that no one is above the law. Trump will, for the first time, have to take responsibility for his own wrongdoing ”, welcomed this Monday Michael Cohen after the announcement of the Supreme Court’s decision.

“Witch hunt”

If these suspicions were true and Donald Trump was indicted, they would expose the former president to possible imprisonment. Unlike federal offenses, violations of state laws cannot be the subject of a presidential pardon. New York State Democratic Attorney Letitia James is also investigating the allegations of bank fraud and insurance fraud, in civil proceedings.

Donald Trump, for whom this is a major legal setback, reacted on Tuesday, indicating that the investigation led by Cyrus Vance “Is part of the continuity of the biggest political witch hunt in the history of our country. […] The new phenomenon of ‘headhunter’ prosecutors – who attempt to bring down their political opponents by using the law as a weapon – is a threat to the very foundation of our freedom. “ Unlike his predecessors, the one who left New York for good and moved to his club in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, never published his tax returns.



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