President Donald Trump’s longtime accounting firm must hand over eight years of his tax returns to New York prosecutors, a U.S. appeals court ruled Monday, the latest setback for Trump in his tenacious efforts to keep his finances secret.
The ruling by a unanimous three-judge panel of the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals backed the ability of prosecutors to enforce a subpoena for the returns against accounting firm Mazars LLP. Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for Trump, said the Republican president will appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, whose 5-4 conservative majority includes two justices appointed by Trump.
The office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat, is seeking the returns as part of a criminal investigation into Trump and his family real estate business. The scope of that probe is not publicly known.
The 2nd Circuit did not decide whether Trump is immune from being charged with a state crime while in office, as the president has argued. However, it found that even if he is, the immunity could not stop Vance from getting the returns from a third party, or from prosecuting him once he leaves office.
The timing of Monday’s decision means the Supreme Court could probably take up and decide the case in its current term, which ends in June. It could, however, wait until its next term to hear the case, potentially pushing its decision until after Trump goes up for reelection next year.
The Supreme Court could also decline to hear the case altogether, which would effectively uphold the 2nd Circuit’s decision and clear the way for Vance to get Trump’s tax returns.