Manhattan DA Seeks to Obtain Trump’s Tax Returns Through Criminal Probe of Hush Payments

Just days ago, CNN reported that prosecutors with the Manhattan District Attorney’s (DA) Office last month interviewed Michael Cohen — the ex-personal attorney to President Donald Trump — about the Trump Organization possibly falsifying business records. The New York Times revealed on Monday that DA Cy Vance’s office also subpoenaed Trump’s finance firm, Mazars USA, last month — ostensibly to obtain eight years of Trump’s personal state and federal tax returns, as well as returns for the Trump Organization.

If Mazars USA sounds familiar that’s because it is the same firm that has already been slapped with congressional subpoenas. The DA’s subpoenas reportedly seek records going back to 2011.

As Law&Crime noted before, the Cohen interview was said to have focused on “whether the Trump Organization violated state laws regarding the hush money payments to women,” namely Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels. The prosecutors visited Cohen “soon after they subpoenaed the Trump Organization and American Media Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer, and interviewed Michael Cohen about this,” CNN reported.

The investigation was reportedly in the early stages and followed the Southern District of New York (SDNY) closing its hush money probe. Cohen was the only person do time as a result of federal probe of the hush payments. Cohen is currently serving out a three-year prison sentence in Otisville, New York after pleading guilty in the SDNY to campaign finance violations, tax evasion and bank fraud.

According to the New York Times, “several people with knowledge of the matter” confirmed the reported details on the subpoenas.

Vance’s office is reportedly looking into whether state laws were broken in the Trump/Trump Organization reimbursement of Cohen for facilitating the hush payments. Per the Times:

In particular, the state prosecutors are examining whether the company falsely accounted for the reimbursements as a legal expense. In New York, filing a false business record can be a crime.

But it becomes a felony only if prosecutors can prove that the false filing was made to commit or conceal another crime, such as tax violations or bank fraud. The tax returns and other documents sought from Mazars could shed light on whether any state laws were broken. Such subpoenas also routinely request related documents in connection with the returns.

Trump attorneys have been fighting any and all attempts to obtain Trump’s tax returns on multiple fronts. You can add one more front to the fray. Jay Sekulow and Marc Mukasey, attorneys from Trump and the Trump Organization respectively, did not comment on the subpoena news.

[Image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]

Matt Naham is managing editor of Law&Crime. He formerly worked as news editor and weekend editor at Rare.

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