SCOTUS denies Trump bid to shield tax returns

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain former President Donald Trump's tax returns and other financial records as part of a criminal investigation, dealing a blow to Trump who has fiercely fought to keep his financial papers out of the hands of investigators.

The justices without comment rebuffed Trump's request to put on hold a lower court ruling directing his longtime accounting firm, Mazars, to comply with a subpoena.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who has been seeking Trump’s tax records as part of an investigation that began more than two years ago, had subpoenaed the records from the accounting firm.

But Trump's lawyers sued to block the subpoena, arguing that as a sitting president, Trump had absolute immunity from state criminal investigations.

The court’s order is a win for Vance, a Democrat, who issued a statement after the court's action, saying quote "The work continues."

Vance's investigation involves hush money payments that Trump's former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen made before the 2016 election to two women - adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal - who said they had sexual encounters with Trump.

The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority included three Trump appointees, had already ruled once in the dispute.

Last July it rejected Trump's broad argument that he was immune from criminal probes as a sitting president.

Unlike all other recent U.S. presidents, Trump refused during his campaign and four years in office to make his tax returns public. The data could provide details on his wealth and the activities of his family real-estate company, the Trump Organization.