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Manhattan District Attorney's Office Finally Gets Donald Trump's Tax Returns

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Donald Trump's tax returns are now in the hands of the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.

CBS2's Dick Brennan has more on what that could mean for the former president.

Prosecutors obtained the records on Monday, just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court denied Trump's last-ditch effort to keep the records private. The millions of pages of documents are said to contain Trump's tax returns spanning from January 2011 to August 2019.

Trump had tried for years to keep his taxes secret, and was taunted by President Joe Biden at a 2020 debate over it.

"Show us your tax returns," Biden said.

"You'll see it as soon as it is finished. You'll see it," Trump responded.

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But Trump never turned over the returns until finally ordered by a court to do so. Now, they are in the hands of the Manhattan DA Cy Vance.

"The Manhattan DA is investigating possible criminality with regard to filing tax records and stating, or over-inflating is the argument, the value of property," said David Birdsell, a professor at Baruch College.

The tax documents are said to be a treasure trove for prosecutors looking into Trump's sometimes murky financial past.

"They'll contain detailed financial information about the operation of a business or the conduct of someone's personal finance that will provide something of a benchmark against which other information of a financial nature can be measured," said Zachary Carter, a former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

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Carter said Trump could also have legal exposure on a federal level, whether for his finances, or a possible role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

"There is no reason why the Justice Department shouldn't look at whether or not he played a role that violated the federal criminal laws," Carter said.

And in New York state, Attorney General Letitia James is investigating possible civil crimes against Trump.

"Largely having to do with the inflated value of assets as a condition for receiving loans, and those loans exposed the people, the institutions, making the loans to significantly much more financial risk than they they thought they were taking on if indeed these charges are sustained in court," Birdsell said.

The tax documents handed off won't be released to the public because they're subject to grand jury secrecy rules. Trump has said obtaining his taxes is just a way for prosecutors to carry out politically-motivated prosecutions.

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