World Supreme Court forces Trump to make public his tax returns

23:05  22 february  2021
23:05  22 february  2021 Source:   liberation.fr

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Donald Trump à Washington, le 12 décembre. © Cheriss May Donald Trump in Washington, December 12.

"The work continues." Solicited by lawyers for Donald Trump, the Supreme Court refused to overturn the decision of a federal judge who had ordered the delivery of eight years of tax and banking returns to the Manhattan prosecutor, Cyrus Vance, who has been asking for them for month.

Vance had issued a first subpoena to Mazars, the accounting firm of Donald Trump, in August 2019, in order to request the tax returns of the New York magnate from 2011 to 2018. The billionaire's lawyers had (already) requested the highest court in the United States to challenge the scope of the requested documents. Their main argument, consisting in hammering that as president in office, Trump was immune from criminal investigations, had not been accepted by the Supreme Court, yet composed of two-thirds of Republican judges, including three appointed by Trump.

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The work continues.

- Cyrus Vance, Jr. (@ManhattanDA) February 22, 2021

Lawyers for the septuagenarian then argued in lower courts that the subpoena was too broad and amounted to political harassment. Allegations twice dismissed: one in August by Judge Victor Marrero, the other in October by the New York-based US Second Court of Appeals. If it had been in his favor, the Supreme Court ruling on Monday would have been Trump's last chance to keep his financial documents confidential. It missed.

"Take responsibility for one's actions"

Cyrus Vance's investigation, which began over two years ago, originally focused on payments made to two alleged mistresses of billionaire - the actress pornstars Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal - by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Tried behind closed doors before a grand jury, she is now examining possible tax fraud allegations , insurance fraud or bank fraud.

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According to several American media including the New York Times, Manhattan sleuths recently interviewed employees of Deutsche Bank - long financial support from Donald Trump and his holding company, the Trump Organization - and his company insurance, Aon.

They also re-interviewed Michael Cohen, who is serving a prison sentence. Heard behind closed doors by a congressional committee, he asserted in early 2019 that the billionaire and his company were artificially inflating or reducing the value of their assets to alternately obtain bank loans or reduce their taxes. “The Supreme Court has now declared that no one is above the law. Trump will, for the first time, have to take responsibility for his own wrongdoing, " said on Monday Michael Cohen welcomed after the Supreme Court’s decision was announced.

"Witch hunt"

If these suspicions were true and Donald Trump was indicted, they would expose the ex-president to possible imprisonment. Unlike federal offenses, violations of state laws cannot be the subject of a presidential pardon. New York Democratic State Attorney Letitia James is also investigating the allegations of bank fraud and insurance fraud in civil proceedings.

Donald Trump, for whom this is a major legal setback, reacted on Tuesday, indicating that the investigation led by Cyrus Vance "is part of the continuity of the greatest political witch hunt in history of our country. […] The new phenomenon of 'headhunter' prosecutors - who attempt to bring down their political opponents by using the law as a weapon - is a threat to the very foundation of our freedom. " Unlike his predecessors, the one who left New York for good and moved to his club in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, never published his tax returns.

Who won the Republican civil war? .
Donald Trump's re-emergence this weekend made one thing clear: the Republican party is still his.No grappling with the party's future in the face of Donald Trump's defeat. No pondering the loss of control of the US Senate.

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This is interesting!