NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Manhattan district attorney said Monday he may have grounds to investigate President Donald Trump and his companies for tax evasion, as he seeks to persuade a federal appeals court to allow him to get Trump’s tax returns.
Lawyers for District Attorney Cyrus Vance made the claim in a case filed with the U.S. 2nd Court of Appeals in Manhattan, four days before considering Trump’s request to block Vance’s subpoena. August 2019 for tax returns.
Lawyers said the “mountainous” public allegations of misconduct, including misrepresentation of commercial properties, could warrant a grand jury investigation into possible tax evasion, insurance fraud and falsification of business records.
“Even though the grand jury was only testing the truth of public claims, these reports, taken together, fully justify the scope of the grand jury’s subpoena,” Vance’s attorneys wrote, without accusing Trump or his companies of acts. reprehensible.
Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for Trump, declined to comment on the case.
Among the reports cited by Vance’s office were allegations that Trump routinely sent lenders financial statements that inflated his assets and omitted debt-laden properties, and from 2004 to 2014 he allegedly paid $ 400 million in cash for “Five houses, eight golf courses and a winery” despite billions of dollars in debt.
They also included the case of former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to campaign finance and other charges, and told Congress it was common for the Trump Organization to tamper with records when she is asking for loans.
Vance previously said his investigation also covered reports of “possibly widespread and prolonged criminal conduct” at the Trump Organization, including possible insurance and banking fraud by the company and its executives.
Trump, a Republican, said that the subpoena of Vance, a Democrat, to his accounting firm Mazars USA for eight years of his personal and corporate income tax returns was “extremely excessive” and issued in bad faith to harass him.
The president made this point after the U.S. Supreme Court in July rejected his previous request for immunity from criminal investigations while in the White House.
Trump is now appealing U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero’s August 20 ruling allowing the subpoena to be enforced.
But Vance’s attorneys said Trump’s arguments, including that Mazars’ subpoena largely copied an earlier subpoena from Democrats in the United States House of Representatives, have been “recycled” from now on. where he claimed immunity.
Lawyers called Marrero’s examination “meticulous,” after Trump accused the judge of dismissing his arguments as a “stolen” form of immunity.
Oral pleadings are set for September 25 before a panel of three judges, all appointed by Democratic presidents.
Although the appeal has been expedited, the public is unlikely to know what is in Trump’s tax returns before the November 3 election.
Report by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Additional reporting by Karen Freifeld; edited by Jonathan Oatis and Tom Brown