Prosecutors digging into Trump’s tax and financial records

Manhattan district attorney finally gets Trump tax documents, but that doesn’t mean they will become public.

Donald Trump is calling the investigation into his taxes and finances a 'witch hunt' [File: Jim Watson/AFP]

After a lengthy court battle, the Manhattan district attorney is in possession of Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial records as part of a criminal investigation into the former president and his family-run Trump Organization, a spokesman for the office confirmed on Thursday.

The New York prosecutor’s office obtained the voluminous records on Monday, the same day the US Supreme Court rejected Trump’s latest attempt to keep his longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, from turning over the records.

Danny Frost, a spokesman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, confirmed the office’s receipt of the documents, which came some 18 months after a subpoena was issued for them.

The records, which include eight years of tax returns, could boost the district attorney’s investigation into the Trump Organization.

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 the family-run real estate company.

A spokesman for Mazars USA did not immediately respond to a request for comment. On Monday, after the Supreme Court ruling, Trump issued a statement calling Vance’s investigation part of “the greatest political Witch Hunt in the history of our country”.

Vance subpoenaed Mazars in 2019 seeking Trump’s corporate and personal tax returns from 2011 to 2018. Trump’s lawyers sued to block the subpoena, arguing that a sitting president has absolute immunity from state criminal investigations.

The Supreme Court in July rejected those arguments but said Trump could raise other objections. Trump’s lawyers then told lower courts the subpoena was overly broad and amounted to political harassment but the lower courts rejected those claims last year.

Vance’s investigation initially focused on hush money paid by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen before the 2016 election to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. The two women said they had sexual encounters with Trump, which he denied.

In court filings, Vance later suggested the probe had broadened and could focus on potential bank, tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records.

Vance’s receipt of the documents does not mean they will become public.

The New York Times obtained some of the records and reported last year that Trump had paid $750 in federal income taxes in both 2016 and 2017, and no income taxes in 10 of the prior 15 years. Trump has disputed the Times report.

Source: Reuters