In a significant defeat for former President Donald Trump, the Supreme Court has declined to step in to halt the turnover of his tax records to a New York state prosecutor.
The court’s action is the apparent culmination of a lengthy legal battle that had already reached the high court once before.
Trump’s tax records are not supposed to become public as part of prosecutors’ criminal investigation, but the high court’s action is a blow to Trump because he has long fought on so many fronts to keep his tax records shielded from view. The ongoing investigation that the records are part of could also become an issue for Trump in his life after the presidency. Trump has called it “a fishing expedition” and “a continuation of the witch hunt — the greatest witch hunt in history.”
The Supreme Court waited months to act in the case. The last of the written briefs in the case was filed Oct. 19. But a court that includes three Trump appointees waited through the election, Trump’s challenge to his defeat and a month after Trump left office before issuing its order.
The court offered no explanation for the delay, and the legal issue before the justices did not involve whether Trump was due any special deference because he was president.
The court’s order is a win for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who has been seeking Trump’s tax records since 2019 as part of an investigation. Vance, a Democrat, had subpoenaed the records from the Mazars accounting firm that has long done work for Trump and his businesses. Mazars has said it would comply with the subpoena, but Trump, a Republican, sued to block the records’ release.
Part of the probe involves payments to two women — porn actress Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal — to keep them quiet during the 2016 presidential campaign about alleged extramarital affairs with Trump. Trump has denied the affairs.