New York prosecutors subpoena Trump's tax returns – AP source

/ AP

Trump sues to block release of tax returns

New York City prosecutors have subpoenaed President Trump's tax returns, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on Monday.

The office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. recently sent a subpoena to Mr. Trump's accounting firm seeking the last eight years of state and federal tax returns for Mr. Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, the person told the AP. The person was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Asked about the subpoena as he left the White House on Monday, the president replied, "I don't know anything about it." A lawyer for the Trump Organization, Marc Mukasey, said he is "evaluating the situation and will respond as appropriate."

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Vance, a Democrat, subpoenaed the Trump Organization last month for records related to payments Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, helped arrange to a porn actress who claimed she had an affair with Trump. His office is also pursuing a state mortgage fraud case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Vance's office declined to comment Monday on the tax returns subpoena, which was first reported by The New York Times .

Mr. Trump's accounting firm, Mazars USA, said in a statement that it would "respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations."

Mazars was subpoenaed earlier this year by a House committee seeking President Trump's financial records. The firm said it believes strongly in ethical and professional rules governing the accounting industry and does not comment on work it does for clients.

Trump, a Republican, is already fighting efforts by several Democratic-led congressional committees to obtain his tax returns and other records that could give them a window into his finances.

Mr. 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. A federal appeals court indicated last month that it would take a hard look at the legality of the subpoenas after Trump's lawyers argued the House committee subpoenas were overly broad and unconstitutional.

In July, Mr. Trump sued to block the application of a new state law in New York that could allow a third House committee to obtain his state tax returns. In April, he and his company sued the chairman of the House oversight committee to block a subpoena issued to Mazars seeking financial statements, accounting records and other documents covering 2011 to 2018.

Meanwhile, New York Attorney General Letitia James is investigating whether President Trump exaggerated his wealth to obtain loans. She issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank in March seeking loan applications and other records related to Trump real estate projects and his failed 2014 bid to buy the Buffalo Bills.

Vance's investigation appears to be covering some of the same ground as two federal probes.

Federal prosecutors in New York and Washington, who spent months probing payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign to two women who said they had affairs with Mr. Trump, Daniels and model Karen McDougal.

Cohen, who made one of the payments himself and arranged for American Media Inc., the parent company of the National Enquirer, to pay the other, pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations, tax evasion and other crimes and is serving a three-year sentence at a federal prison in upstate New York.

A lawyer for Cohen declined to comment on Vance's subpoenas.

The president, who denies any sexual relationship with either woman, has said any payments were a personal matter, not a campaign expense.

The U.S. attorney's office in New York informed a court last month that it was finished investigating the payments. No one besides Cohen was charged, though prosecutors said in public court filings that Trump himself was aware of and directed the payments.

The Trump Organization also reimbursed Cohen for money he paid to Daniels. Cohen has argued that organization officials disguised the true nature of the payments and that it is unfair he is the only one prosecuted.

The federal inquiry looked at whether campaign finance laws were broken.

The New York Times reported, citing "people briefed on the matter," that Vance's inquiry involves an examination of whether anyone at the Trump Organization falsified business records by falsely listing the reimbursements to Cohen as a legal expense.

Falsifying business records can be a crime under state law.

First published on September 17, 2019 / 12:07 AM

© 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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