Former President Trump’s tax returns and other records are finally on their way to New York prosecutors.
The Supreme Court formally declined to hear Trump’s case against turning over piles of financial documents to the Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, ending months of unexplained delay with a terse statement on Monday morning.
The decision means prosecutors’ lengthy battle to pry open Trump’s financial world has finally succeeded, and clears the way for the investigation of Trump’s business affairs to proceed.
Moments after the decision came down, Vance issued a three-word statement: “The work continues.”
Trump slammed the investigation as a politically-motivated “witch hunt” in a statement shortly after the Supreme Court’s decision was announced.
“For more than two years, New York City has been looking at almost every transaction I’ve ever done, including seeking tax returns which were done by among the biggest and most prestigious law and accounting firms in the U.S.,” Trump said. “This is something which has never happened to a President before, it is all Democrat-inspired in a totally Democrat location, New York City and State.”
Even if the files are immediately turned over to New York prosecutors, however, they’ll still be kept confidential under grand jury secrecy rules—meaning the general public won’t be able to have a look at them unless a criminal case is actually brought against the former president, his company, his family members or his associates.
Trump successfully delayed Vance’s attempt to get a look at the inner workings of his business and personal finances until after he stepped down from the presidency, even though Trump eventually lost every legal battle he fought to keep the documents secret.
But the Justices also decided that Trump could go back to the start of the legal process and raise further arguments against handing over his files. That effectively allowed Trump to force prosecutors to jump over an entirely different set of hurdles. And finally, three months after Vance ran through that second obstacle course, and over a month after Trump’s presidency ended, the Supreme Court said it had no further objections.
The decision means Trump’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars, will have to turn over eight years of tax returns and other records.
Vance hasn’t clearly explained the focus of his probe, but he’s told the Supreme Court that it’s justified based on public “reporting on possible financial misconduct at the Trump Organization dating back to at least 2005.”
His investigation has shown signs of accelerating since Trump lost his bid for reelection in November.
In December, Vance’s team subpoenaed records relating to Trump’s Seven Springs property in Westchester County, lawyers who work for the local towns of New Castle and North Castle told VICE News.
This month, Vance hired a new special assistant district attorney with extensive white collar investigative experience named Mark Pomerantz, and reportedly assigned him to work on the investigation of the Trump family business.
Pomerantz is “the real deal,” tweeted Andrew Weissman, who served as a top member of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s links to Russia, but hasn’t been directly involved in the Vance probe.
“This would not be happening if there were not a there there,” Weissman wrote.