The US president must present his tax documents to the New York prosecutor. That determines possible hush money payments.
US President Donald Trump suffered a significant defeat at the US Supreme Court on Thursday. The judges of the American Supreme Court decided that Trump, as president, was not exempt from handing over personal documents to an investigative authority.
“200 years ago, a major lawyer at this court stated that no citizen, including the President, is exempt from the obligation to provide evidence of a crime if requested,” Supreme Judge John Roberts said in his statement. “We reaffirm this principle today and state that the President does not have complete immunity to federal investigations into his personal records, nor does he claim a higher standard.”
Seven of the nine Supreme Court judges voted for the handover, including conservative judges Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, who Trump himself nominated for the bench. It is the first time that the U.S. Supreme Court has made a decision on Trump’s personal finances.
Trump has so far refused to make his finances public. He is the first president since 1974 who did not publish his tax documents before the election. He gave the reason for this as a continuing investigation by the state tax authority IRS.
The New York prosecutor had filed for access to Trump’s financial and tax records and had been brought to justice by a lower court. Trump’s lawyers, however, argue that the president was exempt from the burden of proof in criminal investigations during his tenure, and appealed, bringing the case to the Supreme Court.
The New York prosecutor had opened an investigation into Trump’s business dealings and hush money payments to at least two women in 2016 who allegedly had an affair with him. Trump described the Supreme Court decision on Twitter as “political law enforcement.”
The case now goes back to a lower court, where both sides will again present their arguments. It is therefore almost certain that Trump will only have to hand over his finances to the prosecutor after the November elections.
In another case on Trump’s finances, the Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit by Democratic Congressmen. Judge Roberts explained the seven-to-two decision by saying that it was a purely political matter.