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After more than a year of legal wrangling, it’s official: the Manhattan district attorney’s office will be allowed to access years of former President Donald J. Trump’s tax returns and other financial records.
The Supreme Court issued the decision on Monday, dealing a decisive defeat to Mr. Trump’s extraordinary struggle to keep the records private.
In a statement, Mr. Trump decried the court’s decision and the investigation, which he called “a continuation of the greatest political Witch Hunt in the history of our Country.”
Now the district attorney’s office faces the herculean task of combing through terabytes of data for evidence of possible crimes by Mr. Trump’s real estate company, the Trump Organization.
Here’s what you need to know.
Table Of Contents
What this means
Cyrus R. Vance Jr., Manhattan’s district attorney, has been leading a wide-ranging criminal investigation into Mr. Trump’s business for more than two years.
That investigation was long stymied by legal objections from Mr. Trump that twice reached the Supreme Court.
Now the trove of records that will be obtained from Mr. Trump’s accountants, Mazars USA, will give prosecutors a more comprehensive look at the inner financial workings of Mr. Trump’s business and allow them to determine whether to charge the former president with any crimes.
During his 2016 presidential run, Mr. Trump said that he would release his tax returns, as every presidential candidate has done for at least 40 years, but instead he has battled to keep them under wraps.
He was not entirely successful. A New York Times investigation, which reviewed more than two decades of the former president’s tax returns, revealed that Mr. Trump had paid little income tax for years and pointed out potential financial improprieties, some of which may figure in Mr. Vance’s investigation.
What comes next
Prosecutors, investigators, forensic accountants and an outside consulting firm will begin to dig through reams of financial records to develop a clear picture of Mr. Trump’s business dealings.
After the Supreme Court released its order, Mr. Vance issued a terse statement: “The work continues.”
But Mr. Vance might not see the end of that work while in office. He has given no indication that he intends to run for re-election this year, and the investigation could fall to his successor.
New York City residents have clashed with restaurant owners about their increasingly elaborate outdoor dining setups. [Eater]
After going out of business last year, the discount department store chain and city fixture Century 21 plans to reopen this year. [NY1]
And finally: ‘Charging Bull’ artist, remembered
Arturo Di Modica sneaked his 3.5-ton bronze sculpture “Charging Bull” into position across from the New York Stock Exchange under cover of night in 1989.
Mr. Di Modica did not have permission from the city to install the sculpture. When he arrived with the statue at Broad Street at around 1 a.m. on Dec. 15, he and his friends found that the stock exchange had installed a massive Christmas tree where he hoped to place the bull.
“Drop the bull under the tree,” he shouted. “It’s my gift.”
To Mr. Di Modica, a Sicilian artist whose death last week was covered by my colleague Clay Risen, the statue was a paean to optimism in the face of stock market crashes in the late 1980s. Despite its surreptitious installation, Mr. Di Modica’s gift has endured.
The bull, which city officials moved to Bowling Green, has become a reliable tourist draw and a sculptural representation of Wall Street. It has also been targeted by vandals, including one who in 2019 gashed the bull’s horn by smashing it with a metal banjo.
Another art installation, “Fearless Girl” by Kristen Visbal, irked Mr. Di Modica when it was placed directly in front of “Charging Bull” in 2017.
The bronze girl, who defiantly stared down “Charging Bull,” was “there attacking the bull,” said Mr. Di Modica, who felt Ms. Visbal had changed the original meaning of his work.
“Fearless Girl” drew plaudits from celebrities and Mayor Bill de Blasio, among others, and in 2018 was moved in front of the exchange, near the place were Mr. Di Modica originally placed the bull.
The mayor also wanted to move “Charging Bull” near the exchange, but his efforts failed, and the statue is still at Bowling Green.
At the time of his death, Mr. Di Modica was working on another monumental sculpture: a 132-foot depiction of rearing horses that would one day bracket a river near his home in Vittoria, Italy.
“I must finish this thing,” Mr. Di Modica said. “I will die working.”
It’s Tuesday — grab the bull by the horns.
Metropolitan Diary: Running late
It was a Monday morning in 1985, and I was running late for work. I barely had time to put on makeup and brush my hair before dashing out the door of my Cobble Hill apartment.
When I got to the sidewalk, I hit my stride. With a Walkman wedged in my pocket and music filling my ears, I loped down the six blocks to the subway, bopping along happily to Madonna’s “Material Girl.”
I still had my headphones in when I got on the train. I quickly sensed a ripple of mirth around me. Somebody said something, and people started to laugh. I paid it no mind and kept my head low, glued to my music.
When the doors opened at the next stop, a woman in a crisp business suit brushed past me as I stood near the door. She motioned for me to turn off my Walkman.
“You have your curlers on,” she said.
— Reni Roxas
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