Cyrus R. Vance Jr. issued a new federal court finding to obtain Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns, something that the president has pushed back on.
While the office didn’t specifically state what prompted the new request, it did say that news reports emerged last year about Trump’s financial dealings that raised red flags within the D.A.’s office.
Vance is referring to several bombshell reports about how Trump may have exaggerated the value of his business in order to obtain lending and insurance. While his lawyers have denied all of the claims made in the reports, prosecutors argue that they should be allowed to access the president’s tax returns to make the determination of whether nor not any illegal activity has taken place themselves.
Trump’s legal team argued that the previous request was “wildly overbroad.”
The move comes weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling that opened the door for Manhattan prosecutors to file to obtain Trump’s financial records. In the ruling, the highest court said that presidential power did not apply to blocking the release of papers that could be used to prosecute and investigate the president.
“No citizen, not even the president, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in the ruling, The New York Times reported at the time.
The investigation started in August 2019 when the D.A. office’s filed to obtain documents from Mazars USA, Trump’s accounting firm. The investigation centered on alleged hush-money payments made to two women who were reported to have had an affair with Trump before he took the Oval Office.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, reportedly made payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal so that they would keep their stories quiet. Cohen, who was recently released from prison, later pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations.
Trump and his legal team fought the investigation, saying that he was immune because he was the sitting president.
Carey R. Dunne, who works in the Manhattan D.A.’s office, argued that the president was fighting the case in order to wear out the statute of limitations on some of the crimes that he is alleged to have committed.
“What the president’s lawyers are seeking here is delay,” Dunne argued. “Let’s not let delay kill this case.”