IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Trump's tax returns handed over to Manhattan prosecutors

The Supreme Court this week declined to block a New York grand jury from getting Trump's personal and corporate tax returns.
Image: President Donald Trump at a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on April 21, 2020.
Then-President Trump, pictured last April, lost a Supreme Court ruling this week to keep his tax records out of the hands of Manhattan prosecutors. Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images file

Former President Donald Trump’s tax returns and underlying tax documents are now in the hands of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.

The subpoena for the tax documents from Mazars USA, Trump's longtime accounting firm, was enforced on Monday and Vance’s office now has them, a spokesperson for Vance’s office, Danny Frost, told NBC News on Thursday.

The subpoena was enforced after the Supreme Court declined on Monday to stop their production following an emergency application from Trump’s attorneys.

In that ruling Monday, the high court declined to block a New York grand jury from getting Trump's personal and corporate tax returns, a decisive defeat in his long legal battle to keep his tax records out of investigators' hands.

The ruling doesn't mean the returns will become public any time soon, and they might never be publicly released. Under New York state law, materials turned over to a grand jury must be kept secret.

But Vance has now compelled Trump's accountants to turn over the records that Trump has steadfastly refused to surrender to prosecutors or Congress.

Manhattan District Attorney Releases Report On Smartphone Encryption During Cybersecurity Symposium
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. holds a press conference on Nov. 18, 2015, in New York.Andrew Burton / Getty Images file

Vance was seeking tax returns covering eight years for a grand jury investigation of hush money payments and other financial transactions. The investigation began after it was disclosed that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about her claim that she had an affair with Trump, an allegation he has denied.

Cohen also alleged to Congress that the Trump Organization sometimes lied about its financial condition to evade taxes or obtain favorable loan terms.

In July, the Supreme Court rejected Trump's contention that as a sitting president he was immune from any part of the criminal justice system — including grand jury investigations. But the decision said he could go back to the lower courts to make the same arguments available to anyone who is trying to defeat a subpoena.

A month later, a federal judge in New York ruled against Trump's renewed effort to toss out the subpoena, describing the legal attack as merely a repackaged version of his original immunity argument. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling.

Trump's legal team said that the subpoena was vastly overbroad and that it had been issued in bad faith to harass him. If all Vance was looking at were the payments made by Cohen, it said, it wouldn't explain why Vance simply copied a much broader subpoena issued by a congressional committee.

But in recent court filings, Vance has hinted that the scope of his work may be broader than just the hush-money payments.