Did Marla Maples release Donald Trump's tax returns?

Donald Trump and his wife, Marla Maples, are shown in an August 1994 file photo. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Donald Trump and his wife, Marla Maples, are shown in an August 1994 file photo. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

Could a certain Georgia Peach have pulled off the ultimate sour grapes move?

That's the speculation in certain media quarters as people try to figure out who sent several key pages from Donald J. Trump's 1995 tax return to the New York Times. The leak, which raised the possibility that the Republican presidential nominee might not have paid federal taxes for 18 years, has some wondering if the source may have been Trump second ex-wife, Marla Maples.

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"Giving one of Trump's least favorite reporters documents that undermine both his presidential ambitions and the illusion that he's a genius businessman does seem like something a vindictive ex-wife would do," New York magazine snarked.

Maples is the Dalton area native and onetime Homecoming Queen at Northwest Whitfield High School who married The Donald in 1993 following a high-profile four year relationship that began while he was still married to his then-wife, Ivana. Maples's name and social security number appear along with his on all three pages – portions of a New York resident tax return, and non-resident returns from both Connecticut and New Jersey – with the latter having what the Times said "appeared to be their signatures."

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It's that New Jersey page in particular that put Maples on people's radar. Medium reporter Yashar Ali was the first to note that the document in question showed a "Sign-Here" flag that pointed to the spot for Maples's signature.

The fact that the Times didn't call Maples for comment on this bombshell of a story has only further fanned the flames of speculation. Presumably she has a telephone out in California, where she moved sometime after she and Trump divorced in 1999.

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Since then, Maples has mostly stayed mum on her flamboyant ex, saying she preferred to raise the couple's daughter, Tiffany, out of the spotlight. A recent University of Pennsylvania graduate, Tiffany Trump was two months old when her parents were married at New York's Plaza Hotel in front of 1,000 guests, who included O.J. Simpson and now-Trump sworn enemy Rosie O'Donnell (the wedding got a long write-up in The New York Times, we're just saying.)

The tax brouhaha capped a not-great week for Trump that began with what many considered his weak debate performance followed by days of him and "surrogates" like Newt Gingrich publicly criticizing former Miss Universe Alicia Machado. Maples may or may not have been following it all. Back in March, when she was gearing up to compete on "Dancing with the Stars," she told The Hollywood Reporter she was too busy even to pay attention to her ex-husband's campaign.

>> Related: Who is Tiffany Trump?

"It's not a distraction now because I truly don't have time to watch it," Maples said. "This is a job, so I'm committed to the work and I can't follow what's happening like I was before."

Much more recently, though, she gave an interview to The Daily Beast, in which she said that "her criticisms of (Trump) could be gleaned in seemingly offhanded, vague references to candidates and issues."

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"I have always been more liberal," Trump told reporter Olivia Nuzzi. "and I believe in gay and lesbian rights and I believe everyone on this planet has a right to choice. So, I just don't feel it's productive for me to go judging another person's choices. I think it's important for all of us to speak about what is important for us. I think—I even saw them advising Hillary today that she shouldn't go out attacking—like some of the other candidates did—that she should really stick with her own strengths, and I kind of take that to heart."

The story appeared one day before the tax returns mysteriously showed up in the New York Times reporter's mailbox.