U.S. President Donald Trump. (Associated Press)

‘Protracted criminal conduct’: Prosecutor seeks Trump’s taxes, cites probe of business

Trump’s legal team has argued that the subpoena for his tax filings was issued in bad faith

A New York City prosecutor fighting to get President Donald Trump’s tax returns told a judge Monday he was justified in demanding them because of public reports of “extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization.”

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. is seeking eight years of the Republican president’s personal and corporate tax records, but has disclosed little about what prompted him to request the records, other than part of the investigation related to payoffs to two women to keep them quiet about alleged affairs with Trump.

In a court filing Monday, attorneys for Vance, a Democrat, said the president wasn’t entitled to know the exact nature of the grand jury probe, which they called a “complex financial investigation.”

They noted, though, that at the time the subpoena for the tax filings was issued to Trump’s accountants, “there were public allegations of possible criminal activity” at the president’s company “dating back over a decade.”

They cited several newspaper articles, including one in which the Washington Post examined allegations that Trump had a practice of sending financial statements to potential business partners and banks that inflated the worth of his projects by claiming they were bigger or more potentially lucrative than they actually were.

Another article described congressional testimony by Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who said the president would overstate the value of his business interests to impress people or lenders, but then deflate the value of assets when trying to reduce his taxes.

The attorneys also cited reports of past non-criminal investigations by New York regulators into whether the conduct described by Cohen amounted to bank or insurance fraud.

“These reports describe transactions involving individual and corporate actors based in New York County, but whose conduct at times extended beyond New York’s borders. This possible criminal activity occurred within the applicable statutes of limitations, particularly if the transactions involved a continuing pattern of conduct,” the lawyers said.

Trump’s legal team has argued that the subpoena for his tax filings was issued in bad faith and amounted to harassment of the president.

Speaking to reporters later Monday, Trump called the district attorney’s investigation another attempt by Democrats to damage him.

“This is just a continuation of the witch hunt. It’s Democrat stuff. They failed with Mueller. They failed with everything. They failed with Congress. They failed at every stage of the game. This has been going on for three and a half, four years,” Trump said, referring to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The Supreme Court last month rejected claims by Trump’s lawyers that the president could not be criminally investigated while he was in office.

Vance’s lawyers urged U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero to swiftly reject Trump’s further arguments that the subpoenas were improper, saying the baseless claims were threatening the investigation.

“Every day that goes by is another day Plaintiff effectively achieves the ‘temporary absolute immunity’ that was rejected by this Court, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court,” Vance’s lawyers said.

Marrero has scheduled arguments to be fully submitted by mid-August.

Vance sought the tax records in part for a probe of how Cohen arranged during the 2016 presidential race to keep the porn actress Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal from airing claims of extramarital affairs with Trump. Trump has denied the affairs.

Cohen is serving the last two years of a three-year prison sentence in home confinement after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations, lying to Congress and tax crimes. He said he plans to publish a book critical of the president before the November election.

If the court orders Trump’s accounting firm to give his tax returns to the grand jury, they could be used in any criminal inquiry, but would not be released publicly. Grand jury documents are secret in New York.

___

Associated Press Writer Zeke Miller in Washington D.C. contributed to this report.

Larry Neumeister, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

No plans to discontinue bus service, says Pacific Coastal

The company will continue to provide transfers to Anahim Lake on weather days

New bus service announced for Bella Coola

The shuttle will run to Williams Lake and Kamloops

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Bella Coola Heli Sports now offering yacht-based heliskiing starting at $319K

BCHS has partnered with Maple Leaf Adventures and the MV Cascadia

Liberals and Greens yet to announce North Coast candidates

North Coast candidates have until two weeks before the election to name contenders

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

B.C. food and beverage producers set record sales in 2019

Farmed salmon again leads international exports

Most Read