Trump Sues Manhattan D.A. Over Demand for 8 Years of His Tax Returns

A lawyer for President Trump said Thursday he had filed a lawsuit in federal court to challenge an attempt by state prosecutors in Manhattan to subpoena eight years of Mr. Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns.

“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, a lawyer for the president, said in a statement.

The lawsuit was the latest effort by the president and his legal team to stymie attempts to obtain copies of his tax returns, which Mr. Trump initially said he would make public during the 2016 campaign but has since refused to disclose.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office issued the subpoena late last month, seeking a range of tax documents from Mr. Trump’s accounting firm. The subpoena sought federal and state returns for both the president and his business, the Trump Organization, dating to 2011, according to several people with knowledge of the subpoena.

The office made the demand soon after opening a criminal investigation into the role that the president and his family business played in hush-money payments made in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

Both Mr. Trump and the company reimbursed Michael D. Cohen, the president’s former lawyer and fixer, for money Mr. Cohen paid to buy the silence of Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump. The president has denied the affair.

Both Mr. Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, and the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., are named in the lawsuit.

In a statement, Mazars USA said that it would not comment on work it conducted for Mr. Trump, but that it would “respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations.”

A spokesman for Mr. Vance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Vance’s investigation has been focused on $130,000 that Mr. Cohen paid Ms. Daniels just before the election. Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty last year to violating federal campaign finance laws. He received a three-year prison sentence.

The federal prosecutors who charged Mr. Cohen said in a court filing in July that they had “effectively concluded” their investigation into possible crimes committed by the Trump Organization or its executives. Mr. Vance’s office, however, is exploring whether the reimbursements violated any New York state laws.

In particular, the state prosecutors are investigating whether the Trump Organization falsely accounted for the reimbursements as a legal expense. In New York, filing a false business record can be a felony only if prosecutors can prove that the filing was made to commit or conceal another crime, such as tax violations or bank fraud.

The documents sought from Mazars USA could shed light on whether state laws were broken.

Democrats have insisted since Mr. Trump was on the campaign trail that he release his tax returns, something that every modern presidential nominee had done before him.

They have argued that the president may be trying to conceal details of his actual financial worth, the source of his wealth and any possible conflicts of interest involving his business partners.

Congressional Democrats have taken an aggressive approach, subpoenaing six years of Mr. Trump’s tax returns from the Treasury Department, as well as financial records from Deutsche Bank, Capital One and Mazars USA. The president has challenged those subpoenas in federal court.

Mr. Trump also sued to block a New York State law, passed this year, that allowed state officials to provide his state tax returns in response to certain congressional inquiries.

By tying up those requests in court, Mr. Trump’s team has made it less likely that Democrats in Washington will get the chance to review the records before the presidential election next year.

Ben Protess contributed reporting.

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