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Trump sues Manhattan D.A. as state seeks president’s tax returns

Donald Trump sued Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. after Vance demanded eight years of the president’s tax returns in a probe of whether the Trump Organization falsified business records.

“In response to the subpoenas issued by the New York County District Attorney, we have filed a lawsuit this morning in federal court on behalf of the President in order to address the significant constitutional issues at stake in this case,” Jay Sekulow, the president’s lawyer, said in a statement.

Vance’s subpoena follows a similar demand for tax records by House Democrats, who say they have authority to request the records under a 1920s-era law. Trump has now sued to block both requests, and is also seeking a court order blocking Congress from getting his state returns from New York, as a newly enacted state law would allow.

President Donald Trump
Donald Trump

Separately, Trump is appealing orders by federal judges in New York and Washington that would allow three House committees — financial services, intelligence and oversight — to obtain his records from Deutsche Bank AG, Capital One Financial Corp. and his longtime accountant, Mazars USA,

Trump’s latest suit, filed Thursday in Manhattan federal court, also names Mazars. A copy of the complaint wasn’t immediately available. Vance’s office had no immediate comment.

“Mazars USA will respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations,” the firm said in a statement. “We believe strongly in the ethical and professional rules and regulations that govern our industry, our work and our client interactions.”

Vance is probing whether executives at the Trump Organization filed false business records relating to the payments to silence adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claimed to have had sexual relationships with Trump, a person familiar with the matter said. His office subpoenaed documents from the company in August, the person said, and the New York Times reported Sept. 17 that Vance had also issued subpoenas to Mazars seeking personal and corporate tax returns.

The investigation focuses on payments that Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, made before the 2016 presidential election to Daniels. Cohen admitted to orchestrating the hush payments and released an audio in which he discusses a payment to Daniels with Trump. Cohen pleaded guilty last year to campaign-finance violations and is serving a three-year sentence.

The case is Donald J. Trump v Cyrus R. Vance Jr., 19-cv-8694, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Manhattan.

— Chris Dolmetsch and Greg Farrell, with assistance from Bob Van Voris and Andrew Harris
Bloomberg News