Trump fires back at Manhattan D.A.’s hint of a fraud investigation

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President Donald Trump urged a judge to block a New York grand jury from reviewing his tax filings and disputed a suggestion by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. that the panel may be looking into bank and insurance fraud at the Trump Organization.

It’s the president’s latest attempt to guard his financial information since the Supreme Court ruled last month he’s not immune from state criminal investigations. Trump sued Vance in September to block a subpoena to Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA. Trump claims the subpoena was issued to Mazars in bad faith and that it seeks too much information, constituting harassment of the president.

On Monday, lawyers for Trump filed court papers opposing a request by Vance that a federal judge in Manhattan throw out the president’s lawsuit.

Vance is investigating hush-money payments made before the 2016 presidential election to Stormy Daniels, a porn actress who claims she had sex with Trump, and possibly other matters related to the Trump Organization. Trump has denied her account.

In a filing last week, Vance suggested there might be grounds to look at possible fraud at the Trump Organization beyond the Daniels payment, citing newspaper articles and court records. In Monday’s filing, Trump’s team took issue with his implication of a wider investigation.

“If the district attorney convened the grand jury in order to investigate allegations discussed in these articles, he could’ve said so,” Trump’s lawyers argued. “But the bare fact that ‘there were public allegations of possible criminal activity,’ which is all these citations show, provides no insight into whether the grand jury is in fact investigating them and whether they were a basis for issuing this subpoena.”

A spokesman for Vance declined to comment on Monday’s filing.

In a letter filed separately on Monday, Trump’s lawyer William Consovoy told U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero that the president plans to ask for additional information about the grand jury investigation and the reasons Vance’s office issued the subpoena. If permitted, the process would further delay Vance’s efforts to get records he demanded last August.

Vance’s office is barred by grand jury secrecy laws from releasing Trump’s tax information publicly. In addition to the Vance subpoena, Trump is resisting subpoenas from the U.S. House of Representatives for his taxes and other financial documents. Those are unlikely to be resolved before the presidential election in November.

The case is Trump v. Vance, 19-cv-08694, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Bloomberg News
Donald Trump Cyrus Vance Jr. Tax returns Lawsuits Fraud