Trump lawyers, resisting subpoena, demand more details of Manhattan DA inquiry

Prosecutors’ filing last week implied broader fraud investigation than previously known

New York /
Aug.August 11, 2020 09:00 AM
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance and President Donald Trump (Getty, iStock)

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance and President Donald Trump (Getty, iStock)

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s office implied in a court filing last week that its investigation into President Trump’s finances — once thought to be focused on “hush-money payments” in 2016 — was in fact looking at a much broader range of financial fraud.

The prosecutors did not directly disclose details about their investigation because of grand jury secrecy rules. But Trump’s lawyers want to change that.

Vance “refuses to disclose to the president the nature of the grand jury investigation and has offered shifting reasons for why he copied a congressional subpoena,” Trump’s lawyers wrote in a letter to the judge filed Monday, the New York Times reported.

The Manhattan DA’s office has subpoenaed eight years of the president’s tax records and other financial documents — or “every document and communication related to the president and his businesses over about the last decade” according to Trump’s lawyers.

A previous attempt to block the subpoena made it all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled against the President by 7 to 2 last month. Trump’s lawyers had then argued that a sitting president was immune from state criminal investigations, and are now seeking to raise other objections in the lower courts.

The subpoena in question is directed at accounting firm Mazars USA. Last week, the Times reported that the Manhattan DA’s office had also subpoenaed Deutsche Bank — Trump’s main lender since the 1990s — and that the bank had complied with the subpoena.

“The seeking of discovery is an interesting tactic, though unlikely to succeed,” white-collar criminal defense lawyer Andrew Lankler told the Times, referring to Trump’s lawyers. He noted that the issue at hand was of limited scope — “namely whether the D.A.’s office has discretion to issue broad grand jury subpoenas, which it does.” [NYT] — Kevin Sun


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