Supreme Court gives NY prosecutor a landmark legal victory

Supreme Court gives NY prosecutor a landmark legal victory

NEW YORK — The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. can obtain President Donald Trump’s tax returns for a criminal investigation but sent a second request by Congress for the records back to lower courts.

Here are some key questions and answers stemming from the decision:

Q: WHAT WAS THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S CASE ABOUT?

A: The records were being sought for a criminal investigation by Vance are part of a broader probe that includes payments made to buy the silence of two women, porn star Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal, who claim they had affairs with the president before the 2016 presidential election. Trump has denied them.

Two Manhattan federal judges ruled in separate cases that the subpoenas could not be blocked by Trump. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan upheld the rulings late last year. The Supreme Court was left with the final word. It upheld the legitimacy of the subpoenas but returned the cases to the lower court to determine if Trump could limit the scope.

Trump has refused to release his tax returns since he was a presidential candidate, and is the only modern president who hasn’t made that financial information public.

Q: WHO WON?

Vance overcame Trump’s claims that he should be shielded from state criminal investigators while he is president. The high court sent the case back to the lower courts, but they largely threw out Trump’s argument.

The court turned away the broadest arguments by Trump’s lawyers and the Justice Department that the president is immune from investigation while he holds office or that a prosecutor must show a greater need than normal to obtain the tax records.

Vance, a Democrat, whose office recently won a #MeToo conviction against Harvey Weinstein, saw a “tremendous victory for our nation’s system of justice and its founding principle that no one – not even a president – is above the law.”

Trump’s lawyers also claimed a victory. Attorney Jay Sekulow, said he was pleased lawyers can argue in the lower courts that the subpoenas must be limited in scope, an argument Trump’s lawyers made all along.

Q: WILL ANYBODY SEE TRUMP’S TAX RECORDS BY ELECTION DAY?

Unlikely. Perhaps a grand jury will get to view some records in sealed proceedings, but the Supreme Court ruling all but wiped out any chance that Congress or the public will get to scrutinize Trump’s tax records by November.

The subpoenas by Congress and Vance will now be debated before federal judges in Manhattan, where any rulings on what can be turned over could be appealed again to the 2nd Circuit and the Supreme Court.

Even if judges expedite those decisions, the process will likely take weeks and even months to resolve fully. Records could then be released to a grand jury in Manhattan. Vance has said the records will not be made public.

Even the increasing likelihood that a grand jury will eventually get to examine the documents drove the president into a public rage. He lashed out declaring that “It’s a pure witch hunt, it’s a hoax” and calling New York, where he has lived most of his life, “a hellhole.”

Larry Neumeister, The Associated Press

Donald Trump

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ecole H.J. Cody School. File Photo
Sylvan Lake high school temporarily moves to online classes

Over the weekend, H.J. Cody reported six positive cases of COVID-19

.
Alberta confirmed more than 1,500 COVID-19 cases Sunday

Central zone active cases slightly up

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Long-awaited federal rent subsidy program for businesses hurt by COVID-19 opens today

The new program will cover up to 65 per cent of rent or commercial mortgage interest

Traffic crosses over the Lions Gate Bridge from North Vancouver into Vancouver on July 2, 2015. Motorists would have to pay a fee to drive into downtown Vancouver under the city's plan to slow climate change but one expert warns it could pose financial hardship for some. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver’s climate plan ‘first 10 steps in a journey of 10,000,’ says expert

Almost 40 per cent of Vancouver’s carbon pollution comes from vehicles

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
After COVID-related transplant delays, 16-year-old N.S. girl gets lung transplant

‘This is the difficult time now of seeing Tahlia in ICU hooked up to 15 IVs and sedated’

Britain's Princess Anne The Princess Royal, right, talks to NATO delegates from left, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, during a reception at Buckingham Palace, in London, as Nato leaders attend to mark 70 years of the alliance, Tuesday Dec. 3, 2019.  While NATO leaders are publicly professing unity as they gather for the London summit, several seem to have been caught in an unguarded exchange on camera apparently gossiping about U.S. President Donald Trump’s behaviour. In footage recorded during the Buckingham Palace reception on Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was seen standing in a huddle with French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Britain’s Princess Anne. (Yui Mok/Pool via AP)
Canada, Britain strike new trade, beating Brexit, incorporating expiring EU pact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British counterpart, Boris Johnson, announced the deal Saturday

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
An individual in Clearview school division (Stettler and region) has tested positive for COVID-19

Case affects students and staff at Wm. E. Hay Stettler Secondary School, Stettler Elementary School, and Erskine School, officials say

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes an announcement at the Ornamental Gardens in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Nix non-essential travel, stay home as much as possible as COVID 2nd wave surges: Trudeau

Trudeau was back outfront Rideau Cottage amid concerning COVID-19 projections from Dr. Theresa Tam

(THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
School custodians ‘unsung’ heroes during pandemic

Schools have increased the sanitization of key, high-touch areas

Most Read