Trump sues Manhattan DA seeking to block tax return subpoena | TribLIVE.com
Politics Election

Trump sues Manhattan DA seeking to block tax return subpoena

Associated Press
1697260_web1_1697260-7252e9aa6df94311afbfe95fbb153f5e
AP
President Trump tours a section of the southern border wall on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Otay Mesa, Calif.

NEW YORK — President Trump asked a federal court Thursday to block an effort by New York prosecutors to obtain his tax returns as part of a criminal investigation, opening another front in the president’s efforts to keep his financial information private.

Trump’s attorneys filed a lawsuit against Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., who recently subpoenaed the president’s accounting firm for eight years of his state and federal returns as part of an investigation into payments made to two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump.

They called the subpoena a “bad faith effort to harass” Trump and said Vance, a Democrat, had overstepped his constitutional authority.

“Virtually ‘all legal commenters agree’ that a sitting President of the United States is not ‘subject to the criminal process’ while he is in office,” Trump’s lawyers wrote. “Yet a county prosecutor in New York, for what appears to be the first time in our nation’s history, is attempting to do just that.

The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court, asks U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero to declare the subpoena unenforceable until Trump leaves office.

Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said the lawsuit is intended “to address the significant constitutional issues at stake in this case.”

A spokesman for Vance said his office had received the lawsuit “and will respond as appropriate in court.” Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, declined to comment.

The lawsuit marks Trump’s latest attempt to prevent his tax returns from being seen by Democratic investigators and comes as his campaign is fighting a new law in California requiring presidential candidates to release five years of tax returns as a condition of appearing on the state’s March 2020 primary ballot.

Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee have sued, and a hearing is set Thursday in federal court in Sacramento.

Meanwhile, Democratic-led congressional committees are also trying to obtain Trump’s tax returns and other records that could provide a window into his finances. Trump and three of his children filed a lawsuit in April seeking to block two House committees from getting records that his longtime lender, Deutsche Bank, has said includes tax returns.

And in July, the president sued to block a new New York law that could allow a House committee to obtain his state tax returns.

Unlike those efforts, Vance is conducting a criminal probe. His subpoenas were issued by a grand jury.

The grand jury also subpoenaed the Trump Organization for records related to payments that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen helped arrange to the porn actress Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal during the 2016 presidential campaign to keep either woman from speaking publicly about alleged affairs with Trump. He made one of the payments himself and arranged for American Media Inc., the parent company of the National Enquirer, to make the other.

Cohen pleaded guilty to federal charges that the payments amounted to illegal campaign contributions. Federal prosecutors did not charge Trump or anyone else involved in either arranging the payoffs or reimbursing Cohen through Trump’s company.

Trump has denied any sexual relationship with either woman and said any payments were personal matters, not campaign expenses.

In a letter to Manhattan prosecutors made public as part of Thursday’s lawsuit, Trump’s lawyers, Marc Mukasey, William Consavoy and Alan Futerfas, wrote that the Trump Organization had already willingly provided “hundreds of documents” to Vance’s team of investigators.

Vance is also pursuing a mortgage fraud case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Categories: News | Politics Election
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.