The US Supreme Court on Monday allowed the release of Donald Trump’s tax records to criminal prosecutors, rejecting a last-ditch bid by the former president’s lawyers to keep them secret.

Trump, 74, has been waging a protracted legal battle to prevent his tax records from being handed over to New York prosecutors probing hush payments to women and possible fraud.

The nation’s highest court denied the request filed by lawyers for Trump without comment, paving the way for the documents to be handed over to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.

The prosecutor, a Democrat, has been fighting for over a year to obtain eight years of Trump’s tax returns as part of an investigation into the ex-president’s finances.

Monday’s ruling concerns a subpoena that Vance had issued to Trump’s accountants Mazars USA in August 2019 ordering it to furnish documents stretching back to 2011.

US presidents are not required by law to release details of their personal finances but every US leader since Richard Nixon has done so. Trump repeatedly said he would release them pending an audit but ultimately broke with the tradition.

Ahead of the November 3 election, The New York Times alleged that Trump had avoided paying federal taxes in 11 out of the 18 years for which it had obtained returns. The newspaper also reported that Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017, a claim the former president denies.

New York state’s Attorney General Letitia James is also investigating allegations of bank fraud and insurance fraud through civil proceedings.

If Trump were charged and convicted he could face a possible jail term. Unlike federal offenses, state crimes are not subject to presidential pardons. Trump’s legal troubles may not end there.

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