Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Will Take Trump's Tax Returns Now, Because THIS IS NEW YORK, BITCH
States are doin' it for themselves. If the federal courts are going to let Trump stonewall congressional Democrats on the release of his tax returns -- although, for the record, we're still confident that no court in the land is going to let Trump piss on the plain meaning of the statute and defy the Ways and Means Committee -- then New York will step up to the plate.
And so Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has gotten a grand jury to subpoena eight years of Trump's personal and business tax returns from Mazars USA, the accountants who prepared them. The New York Times first reported the subpoenas, which are part of an investigation into the Trump Organization's reimbursement payments to Michael Cohen for fronting the $130,000 to Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet about her adventures with Mario Kart Yeti Pubes.
A thousand years ago in August 2018, Cohen pled guilty to accepting 12 payments totaling $420,000 from Donald Trump -- that's $180,000 of campaign expenditures, doubled to cover his taxes, with a $60,000 sweetener tacked on top. Turns out that loon Rudy Giuliani was actually NOT LYING when he told Sean Hannity that Cohen got repaid via corporate checks "funneled through a law firm," padded "with a little profit and a little margin for paying taxes for Michael." So weird that Giuliani's partners at Greenberg Traurig shoved him out the door five minutes after he went on national television and claimed it was common practice for lawyers to launder payments for their clients so as to avoid having their extramarital sexual liaisons disclosed before an election. He even helpfully admitted that this was done to cover up the affair and keep it from the voters. Never change, Rudes!
Vance's office is trying to determine whether the Trump Organization committed crimes by claiming the reimbursements to Cohen as a business expense, when it had nothing to do with the business. Under New York law, falsifying business records is only illegal if undertaken to conceal another crime. Luckily, Trump's then-lawyer and current resident of the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, New York, Michael Cohen has already pled guilty to campaign finance violations for advancing the $130,000 to help Trump's campaign. So voilà, there's your predicate crime!
Rachel Maddow reported last night that Cohen was so grateful that prosecutors made the trek upstate to visit that he made a proffer, offering to spill the beans on his old boss if granted immunity for state crimes. What state crimes, you are asking? Well, let's take a wild guess here that Cohen, who failed to report income on his various side hustles to the IRS, also forgot to mention that income to the state of New York and is looking to make a deal here.
Donald Trump's lawyers will no doubt move to quash the subpoena, although New York state courts are not the federal judiciary, so LOTSA LUCK, FELLAS. So far, the accountants have refused to say whether they will comply, telling CNN, "Mazars USA will respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations." It seems pretty likely that Trump will have minimal success gumming up the works in his home state. But before we get too excited, evidence presented to a grand jury remains secret unless it's used as evidence in a criminal prosecution. Which might happen -- but it might not.
So, no, we do not forgive Cy Vance, WHO KNOWS WHAT HE DID. But this is a good start.
Follow Liz, AKA your FDF, on Twitter!
You liking these lawsplainers? Please click here to fund 'em!
Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.