Trump Sues to Keep Tax Records Hidden
NEW YORK — President Donald Trump sued his own accounting firm and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Thursday, seeking to prevent the prosecutor from getting his hands on eight years of tax returns.
The suit was filed in Manhattan Federal Court the same day the accounting firm, Mazars USA, faced a deadline to turn over the records to Vance.
It comes only three days after reports that Vance sought the tax returns in connection with an investigation into Trump’s $130,000 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Trump’s legal team argues in the suit that the inquiry is politically motivated and that a sitting president cannot be criminally investigated while in office.
“Because the Mazars subpoena attempts to criminally investigate a sitting President, it is unconstitutional. This Court should declare it invalid and enjoin its enforcement until the President is no longer in office,” the suit reads.
“The subpoena is a bad faith effort to harass the President by obtaining and exposing his confidential information, not a legitimate attempt to enforce New York law.”
The president’s lawyer Jay Sekulow said the lawsuit is intended “to address the significant constitutional issues at stake in this case.”
Trumps former’s fixer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations in connections to the payments. Evidence showed that the Trump Organization reimbursed Cohen.
Vance, a Democrat, is investigating whether the Trump Organization may have falsely claimed the reimbursement as a legal expense, according to The New York Times. Falsifying business records can be a crime in New York and a felony if used to cover up other crimes. The subpoena also mentions Karen McDougal, who received a hush money payment from Trump via the National Enquirer’s parent company, AMI.
“We have received the plaintiff’s complaint and will respond as appropriate in court. We will have no further comment as this process unfolds in court,” a Vance spokesman said.
Both McDougal and Daniels claim to have had affairs with Trump, which the president denies.
Judge Victor Marrero wrote he would rule on the challenge to the subpoena later Wednesday, following a hearing. Mazars does not have to comply with the subpoena in the meantime.
Trump attorneys Marc Mukasey and Alan Futerfas were spotted by the New York Daily News outside Marrero’s chambers and declined comment.
Democrats in Congress are separately demanding Trump release his personal tax returns, but he has refused to do so. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has defied a congressional subpoena for the returns and Trump has sued to block a state law that permits officials to disclose his state returns if Congress asks for them.
The new suit says that New York has been a “willing and eager participant” in a “campaign of bad-faith investigations and harassment of the President.”
Trump is also fighting a congressional subpoena for records from his primary lender, Deutsche Bank. The bank’s records likely include some of Trump’s tax returns.
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