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Manhattan DA now has Trump’s tax returns

The tax and financial records that former President Donald J. Trump fought to keep secret for nearly 18 months have been turned over to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, which is investigating possible fraud by Mr. Trump and his business, an official said.

The voluminous files, including eight years of personal income tax returns, were turned over to prosecutors on Monday, the same day the Supreme Court rejected Mr. Trump’s latest offer to block a subpoena on their behalf.

A spokesperson for District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. confirmed in an email that the office received the files just hours after the court issued its brief unsigned order.

Mr Vance’s investigation, which began more than two years ago, recently focused on possible tax and bank fraud. Investigators are particularly wondering if the Trump Organization has inflated or otherwise manipulated the value of its properties in order to obtain loans and tax benefits.

Mr Trump lambasted Mr Vance and his investigators, saying their work is just the latest example of a politically motivated campaign to indict him criminally. In a lengthy statement reacting to the Supreme Court’s ruling, he again referred to the investigation as a “fishing, fishing” and “witch-hunt”, linking it to his other legal issues, including a special prosecutor’s investigation. on Russian interference in the 2016 elections and his two impeachment trials. He swore to “fight”.

The work facing Mr. Vance’s office is daunting. Prosecutors began to scan millions of pages of esoteric financial documents, saved as digital files. In addition, an external consulting firm set up by Mr. Vance scrutinizes commercial and tax real estate strategies. The office also enlisted the help of a former federal prosecutor, Mark F. Pomerantz, who has extensive experience with white collar workers and organized crime.

Public interest in the case remains at its peak in New York and other Democratic strongholds. This is a key issue in the campaign to succeed Mr Vance as Manhattan district attorney, although the eight candidates for the post, all Democrats, have mostly refrained from commenting on the details of his investigation.

Along with the Manhattan investigation, Mr. Trump is also the subject of a criminal investigation by Fulton County prosecutors in Atlanta, who are investigating his attempts to persuade officials to manipulate the election results in Georgia.

Despite the appetite for lawsuits among Democrats, experts say the case against the former president will not be easy to pursue.

“In an office that has handled so many high-profile cases over several decades, this would be the most high-profile case ever,” said Daniel R. Alonso, who was Mr. Vance’s senior deputy from 2010 to 2014. and who now practices in private practice. “We won’t know until we see the evidence how difficult it would be to get convictions, but cases like this are never easy.”

The Supreme Court ruling allowed Mr. Vance to obtain eight years of tax returns from Mr. Trump. But it also gave his office access to the business records underlying the information in those returns, which may contain important detail and context that prosecutors wouldn’t find in tax returns alone.

One of the goals of Mr. Vance’s investigation is to find out whether Mr. Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, falsely inflated the value of some of his signature properties to get the best loans possible, while downplaying values ​​for lowering property taxes, people familiar with the subject said. Prosecutors are also reviewing statements by the Trump Organization to insurance companies about the value of various assets.

If Mr. Vance were to indict Mr. Trump – which is far from a sure thing – the result would be the potential criminal trial of a former U.S. president, a startling event that would likely keep Mr. Trump’s name in the limelight. news for months. to come, but not on terms the former president would prefer.

Tags : real estate
Margarita W. Wilson

The author Margarita W. Wilson