World / Crime & Legal

Trump Organization turns over 3,376 pages to Manhattan D.A. probing hush-money payments, but no tax returns

Bloomberg

The Trump Organization has given 3,376 pages of documents to New York state prosecutors probing whether the company falsified business records related to hush-money payments made to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.

The disclosure came in a filing Monday by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. as part of a court fight over whether Trump’s accountant must surrender the president’s and his companies’ tax returns.

The filing is the strongest indication yet that the Trump Organization is at least partially cooperating with Vance’s probe. Yet President Donald Trump’s company has drawn the line at Vance’s demand for tax records, while Trump is suing to block a subpoena to his accountant, Mazars USA LLP, for tax records and other financial documents.

“The Trump Organization produced records on Aug. 15 and 29, and again on Sept. 13, 2019,” Assistant District Attorney Solomon Shinerock wrote in the filing. “But no tax records.”

Trump is seeking to block a grand jury subpoena for tax records from Mazars, and his company is arguing that the subpoena doesn’t seek tax records. Shinerock’s filing on Monday, which included new details about Vance’s investigation, opposed Trump’s request to halt the Mazars’ subpoena.

Trump’s challenge belongs in New York state rather than federal court, the prosecutors argued in court papers filed Monday.

“To the extent that plaintiff has a valid challenge to the Mazars subpoena, it should be litigated in the New York court having jurisdiction over the grand jury that issued the subpoena,” prosecutors argued.

They also said the president hasn’t shown he’s immune from investigation for things he did before he was elected, criticizing Trump’s “purely speculative — and, frankly, outrageous — claim that it is the intention of the DA’s office to expose the president’s personal financial information” in violation of New York law. Trump is seeking to invent a new presidential “tax-return privilege” that’s unsupported by the law, according to Vance.

A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in Manhattan. Vance’s office has agreed not to enforce the subpoena until then.

Vance is probing payments made before the 2016 presidential election to porn star Daniels, who is also known as Stephanie Clifford, and former Playboy model McDougal. Both women claimed to have had sexual relationships with Trump.

The subpoena seeks information about the payments, “how those payments were reflected in the Trump Organization’s books and records, and who was involved in determining how those payments would be reflected in the Trump Organization’s books and records,” Shinerock wrote.

The U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel in 2000 determined that the U.S. Constitution protects a president from being charged criminally while he’s in office, a judgment that hasn’t been directly tested in the Supreme Court. Trump argues the protection means Mazars shouldn’t be required to comply with the subpoena until he leaves the White House.

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

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