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Local News

Manhattan DA Hints Office Is Investigating 'Criminal Conduct' of Trump Organization

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Manhattan DA Hints Office Is Investigating 'Criminal Conduct' of Trump Organization

2020-08-03 22:27:28

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Donald Trump at the 2016 Republican National Convention (Image source: Public domain)

The Manhattan district attorney's office amped up the pressure on Donald Trump. Earlier everyone thought it was just about him protecting his tax returns, but it was unclear why he is willing to do anything to not release them. The DA's office wrote in a court filing that it's investigating the Trump Organization for "criminal conduct."

Trump pushed this thing all the way to the Supreme Court. A 7-2 decision last month rejected his argument against releasing the returns, saying he did not have immunity against such things.

"In light of these public reports of possibly extensive protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization, there was nothing facially improper (or even particularly unusual) about the Mazars Subpoena, which [was] issued in connection with a complex financial investigation, requesting eight years of records from an accounting firm," wrote prosecutors in the court filing that was submitted Monday.

While the above calls out reports of possible "protracted criminal conduct" and notes there is nothing "facially improper" or "particularly unusual" about the subpoena, it was the footnote that told more of the story. It listed three articles that were published about Trump's financial history.

One of them was a Washington Post story that was published last year, saying that Trump had lied about his net worth to potential lenders as well as investors.

The second article cited in the footnote was a 2018 New York Times investigation that reported that Trump had used "dubious tax schemes" including "outright fraud" in the Trump Organization in the 1990s.

The final article was from The Wall Street Journal. It details Trump's former attorney, Michael Cohen's, revelations that Trump had told him to pay hush money to two women who claim to have had affairs with him. The hush money was paid in 2016 to ensure the stories didn't get out and that Trump would be elected, setting up campaign finance violations. This story was the only one of the three that had been referenced before in connection to the subpoena for the financial records.

After the Supreme Court's ruling, Trump's legal team filed a new complaint with the Manhattan federal district court, arguing that the subpoena is overly broad and "amounts to harassment of the president."

"This is not a straightforward request to review specific business transitions — it is an overreaching demand designed to pick apart the president and each related entity from the inside out, without regard to the geographic limits of the District Attorney's jurisdiction or the scope of the grand jury's investigation," reads the complaint.

 "Plaintiff's baseless  [complaint] merely serves to delay the grand jury's investigation," wrote the DA's office on Monday in the court filing. "Every day that goes by is another day Plaintiff effectively achieves the 'temporary absolute immunity,' that was rejected by the Court, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court." 

The DA's office also noted that the latest complaint doesn't include any new challenges to the subpoena that haven't already been considered or rejected by multiple courts. The office believes that under federal court procedural rules, the complaint should be thrown out.

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