The main threat looming over Donald Trump’s legal horizon, once presidential immunity has been lost, is the long and extensive investigation that Cyrus Vance leads in the Manhattan prosecutor’s office.
This Monday, the former president has suffered an important defeat in that case when the Supreme Court rejected the latest attempt by his lawyers to hide his financial history: Trump’s accountants must deliver their tax returns and other documents requested by the New York prosecutor’s office.
The investigation had been stalled for four months due to Trump’s refusal to release the information. Prosecutor Vance has celebrated the Supreme Court’s resolution with a three-word tweet: “The work continues.”
The exact scope of the prosecution’s investigations remains a mystery, as they are protected by the secrecy of the grand jury procedure. Within the set of judicial cases that hang over Trump after leaving the presidency, that of prosecutor Vance constitutes the only criminal investigation opened today against him.
It began with the investigation into the alleged payments to two women, allegedly declared as legal expenses during the 2016 presidential campaign, so that they did not count the sexual relations they claimed to have had with the aspiring president.
But the investigation grewAnd, in documenting this very battle to obtain Trump’s tax returns, Vance’s team spoke of “extensive and prolonged criminal conduct at the Trump Organization” and suggested that it investigates a variety of potential financial crimes, from insurance fraud up to tax evasion, going through bank fraud.
The prosecution had asked Trump’s accountants, more than a year ago, for information on his finances since 2011. The Supreme Court rejected in July last year the argument that prosecutors could not investigate an active president.
But he indicated to Trump that he could try to challenge the prosecution’s request by claiming the same protections that any citizen has against acts in bad faith. This was done by the president’s legal team, but their arguments were rejected in the first and second instance. Then they went to the Supreme Court, who has again agreed with prosecutor Vance.
During his first presidential campaign in 2016, Trump promised that he would make his tax returns public. But, instead of that, once in the White House, he fought by all means so that that information did not see the public light. Under the secrecy of the grand jury, it is not clear that the fact that the documents were delivered to the prosecution would necessarily imply that the public could see them.
But, as the battle raged in court, The New York Times published a series of exclusive reports after obtaining two decades of tax returns from Trump, which revealed that his income tax returns were left unpaid on September 11. the last 18 years and that he barely paid $ 750 in both 2016 and 2017.