Aug 3, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Filing suggests Manhattan DA is investigating Trump for possible fraud


Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP

The Manhattan District Attorney's office suggested for the first time Monday that it's investigating President Trump and his company for "alleged bank and insurance fraud," the New York Times first reported.

The state of play: The disclosure was made in a filing in federal court that seeks to force accounting firm Mazars USA to comply with a subpoena for eight years of Trump's personal and corporate tax returns.

The big picture: The revelation comes less than a month after the Supreme Court paved the way for District Attorney Cy Vance's subpoena, ruling that presidents cannot be immune from investigation.

  • The filing suggests that Vance's investigation, which was believed to be examining hush money payments made by Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen during the 2016 election, is much broader in scope.
  • Trump and his lawyers have denied any wrongdoing.

What they're saying: "Plaintiff goes so far as to declare that these payments — and these payments alone — are what the 'grand jury claims to be investigating,' and thus the Mazars Subpoena is overbroad because it seeks documents dating back to 2011. But this Court is already aware that this assertion is fatally undermined by undisputed information in the public record," the district attorney's office writes in the filing.

  • "See Vance, 395 F. Supp. 3d at 300 (the Office's investigation may result in 'a favorable outcome ... substantially related to[,]" among other things, 'alleged insurance and bank fraud by the Trump Organization and its officers')."
  • "Although the Office bears no affirmative burden to justify the breadth of the Mazars Subpoena, and although Plaintiff is not entitled to know the scope and nature of the grand jury investigation, publicly available information itself establishes a satisfactory predicate for the Mazars Subpoena."

Worth noting: The filing points to three media reports about "possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization" to support Vance's argument about the legitimacy of the subpoena.

  • Washington Post: How Donald Trump inflated his net worth to lenders and investors
  • Wall Street Journal: Michael Cohen Details Allegations of Trump’s Role in Hush-Money Scheme
  • Washington Post: After selling off his father’s properties, Trump embraced unorthodox strategies to expand his empire

Read the filing via DocumentCloud:

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