Criminal Investigation

Trump's tax returns and related records turned over to Manhattan district attorney

Tax records that former President Donald Trump tried to keep secret for years are now in the hands of the New York district attorney

New York District Attorney Cy Vance is investigating whether Trump and the Trump Organization engaged in tax fraud, insurance fraud and other schemes to defraud

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US PRESS GROUP

Prosecutors obtained the records on Monday, just hours after the US Supreme Court denied Trump's last-ditch effort to keep the records private, a spokesperson for the district attorney said. The millions of pages of documents, sources say, contain Trump's tax returns spanning from January 2011 to August 2019, as well as financial statements, engagement agreements, documents relating to the preparation and review of tax returns, and work papers and communications related to the tax returns.

Though the documents handed off from Trump's long-time accounting firm Mazars won't be released to the public because they're subject to grand jury secrecy rules, their delivery caps off an extraordinary 17-month quest by the former President and his lawyers to block investigators from obtaining the records.

New York District Attorney Cy Vance is investigating whether Trump and the Trump Organization engaged in tax fraud, insurance fraud and other schemes to defraud, including potentially providing false information to financial institutions or banks about the value of certain buildings and assets.

With the records now in hand, Vance and his fellow prosecutors will be able to dig deeper into investigative theories, pursue interviews with key witnesses, and determine whether they believe any state laws have been violated.

"Our office obtained the records on Monday," said Vance spokesman Danny Frost.

Mazars' spokesman didn't respond to a request for comment.

The records may be critical to the investigation because they are likely to contain documents that reflect the decision-making behind valuations and tax write-offs, which may be important to determine whether there was intent to commit a crime. The investigators have wanted to review the documents before calling key witnesses before the grand jury, people familiar with the inquiry said.

In addition to the records from Mazars, Vance's office has been seeking a slew of other documents. They subpoenaed records and interviewed employees at Deutsche Bank, one of Trump's creditors, about loans given to him, and insurance broker Aon, according to multiple sources familiar with the investigation. Deutsche Bank has loaned Trump more than $300 million.

Prosecutors have also subpoenaed Ladder Capital, which has loaned the Trump Organization over $100 million, and the Trump Organization for records relating to fees paid to consultants, including Ivanka Trump, these people said.

The development comes after the Supreme Court on Monday rebuffed an effort from Trump's lawyers to shield the documents.

CNN, which first reported on the new development, reported that prosecutors have obtained millions of pages of documents, including tax returns from January 2011 to August 2019, financial statements and documents concerning the preparation and review of the tax returns.

The district attorney's office obtained the documents from Trump's accounting firm, Mazars USA, which it had subpoenaed in 2019 as part of a grand jury investigation.

The district attorney's office started its investigation to examine payments made prior to the 2016 president election to silence two women who alleged they had affairs with Trump. Prosecutors have also said they are looking into potential financial crimes by the Trump Organization.

Trump sued to block the subpoena shortly after it was issued. The Supreme Court in July ruled against Trump's argument that presidents have sweeping immunity from the criminal process, and sent the case back to the lower courts.

Trump then argued that the subpoena should be blocked because it's too broad and was issued in bad faith, but he again lost in the lower courts. The Supreme Court's order on Monday effectively declined to halt those lower court rulings.

The documents Vance's office obtained are subject to grand jury secrecy rules, so they are unlikely to become public in the near future. The New York Times reported last fall, based on data it obtained, that Trump paid little to no federal income taxes in many recent years.

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