Donald Trump has failed in a bid to block the release of his tax returns as part of an investigation into hush money allegedly paid to two women who claim to have had affairs with him.
He had his challenge tossed out by New York state judge Victor Marrero, who said he could not endorse such a “categorical and limitless assertion of presidential immunity from judicial process”.
Lawyers for the US president were fighting the case over an investigation into allegations that the Trump Organisation bought the silence of two women who claim to have had affairs with him.
Earlier this year, his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen told Congress that Mr Trump had directed and coordinated the payments made to both women.
The women are porn star Stormy Daniels – who has tried but failed to get a court to declare a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) illegal so she could speak out about the alleged payments – and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.
Lawyers for Mr Trump said the probe is politically motivated and that efforts to secure his tax returns should be stopped because the president is immune from any criminal investigation so long as he is in office.
Lawyer Cyrus Vance is seeking eight years of tax returns from Mr Trump, as well as other records. Mr Trump’s lawyers have already filed an emergency appeal with a higher court in a last ditch attempt to stop their release.
Mr Trump had indicated during his 2016 election campaign that he would release his tax returns, but has repeatedly refused requests to make them public since becoming president.
Gerard Ford is the only other US presidential candidate in the last 50 years who has not released his tax returns.
Mr Trump is running for re-election in 2020, although he is facing an impeachment inquiry over a whistleblower complaint that he pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate rival Joe Biden.
It is claimed that Mr Trump asked his Ukrainian counterpart for help look into the Biden family’s business dealings in the country during a phone call in July.
Mr Trump has said the phone call was “perfect”.
Source: SKY NEWS