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Supreme Court rules Manhattan district attorney can obtain Trump's tax returns

Washington: The US Supreme Court has ruled that the Manhattan district attorney can gain access to President Donald Trump’s tax returns, but kept a hold on Trump’s financial records that Congress had been seeking for more than a year.

The court said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R Vance Jr had the authority to subpoena the tax returns from Trump’s private accounting firm. Trump had claimed an immunity from criminal investigations while in office.

US President Donald Trump.

US President Donald Trump.Credit:AP

The justices by a 7-2 vote ruled that Trump was not above the law and must comply with legitimate demands from a grand jury in New York that is investigating Trump's alleged hush money payments to two women who claimed to have had sex with him.

Trump had sued to block the subpoenas and claimed that as President he had an "absolute immunity" from demands for personal or confidential information.

In a separate decision, the court blocked for now House subpoenas that might have led to the public release of Trump's financial records before the election.

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That ruling returns the case to lower courts, with no clear prospect for when the case might ultimately be resolved. The 7-2 outcome is at least a short-term victory for Trump, who has strenuously sought to keep his financial records private.

The cases were perhaps the most far-reaching of Trump's presidency, testing his claim to broad protections from congressional and state criminal investigations while in the White House.

The clashes forced Chief Justice John Roberts' court to navigate politically polarising and constitutionally weighty issues months before the presidential election.

More to come

AP, Bloomberg

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