Appeals court: Trump must turn over taxes to prosecutor

Appeals court: Trump must turn over taxes to prosecutor”

A federal appeals court on Wednesday rejected Donald Trump's effort to block Manhattan's district attorney from obtaining eight years of his tax returns for a criminal probe into the United States president and his businesses, but Trump's lawyer says he will appeal the ruling.

"We hold that none of the President's allegations, taken together or separately, are sufficient to raise a plausible inference that the subpoena was issued 'out of malice or an intent to harass, '" the decision said.

The grand jury subpoena was issued to Trump's accounting firm Mazars USA in August 2019 as part of an investigation of the Trump Organization.

It is the latest setback for Trump in his attempt to shield his taxes from scrutiny by prosecutors. "Under that arrangement, there is a 12-day briefing schedule for Trump to ask the Supreme Court to stay the enforcement of the subpoena".

Vance's lawyers wrote that if Trump and his entities made misstatements about business properties, wherever located, to New York-based business partners, insurers, potential lenders, or tax authorities, those misstatements could establish crimes including falsifying business records, insurance and tax fraud and scheming to defraud.

Sitting on the panel were Judges Pierre N. Leval and Robert A. Katzmann, who were appointed by President Bill Clinton, and Judge Raymond J. Lohier Jr.

The issue of Trump's taxes has been on the minds of voters since he had promised to share details of his earnings with the American people as a candidate for president in the last election cycle.

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The court, though, is keeping the subpoena seeking the records at bay, for now, so the president can appeal its decision to the Supreme Court.

It followed a Sept 28 report in The New York Times that Trump had paid US$750 in federal income taxes in both 2016 and 2017, and no income taxes in 10 of the prior 15 years, reflecting "chronic" losses he used to avoid paying taxes.

At the time, Trump dismissed the report as "fake news" and maintained he has paid taxes, but he provided no specifics.

But the appeals court called it "implausible" speculation to suggest the probe was limited to the Cohen payments.

"It is far from reasonable to infer that a single subpoena would define the entire scope of a grand jury's investigation, particularly in complex financial investigations", the court said. The court now has eight members following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Even if Vance gets Trump's tax returns, grand jury secrecy rules make it unlikely he will reveal their contents unless criminal charges were brought.

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