US President Donald Trump. Picture: REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE
US President Donald Trump. Picture: REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE

New York — In a court filing on Friday, the Manhattan district attorney said US President Donald Trump was not entitled to greater protection from a grand-jury subpoena for his tax returns just because he was president.

District attorney Cyrus Vance was responding to an argument by Trump's lawyers that the president deserved extra protection from what he called harassment.

Vance last August issued a grand jury subpoena to Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, demanding eight years of his business and personal returns and other documents.

Trump has repeatedly fought efforts by legislators and prosecutors to obtain his tax records, which should shed light on his financial dealings. He also defied decades of precedent as a candidate by refusing to release tax returns.

Trump filed his latest challenge to the grand-jury subpoena in July, after the US supreme court ruled that he was not immune from state criminal probes while in the White House. The high court said that Trump could battle the subpoena on other grounds.

Vance is asking a judge to dismiss Trump's case.

Grand jury deliberations are secret but Vance has suggested the probe may involve “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization,” the president's business, including alleged insurance and bank fraud.

Vance said on Friday that Trump was not entitled to extra protection from a subpoena unless it would significantly interfere with his presidential duties.

The supreme court has made clear the presidency is only implicated if there is a conflict between judicial proceedings or a subpoena and Trump’s public duties, Vance said. Trump did not raise arguments that met those standards, he said.

On Monday, Vance called Trump’s claims that the subpoena was overbroad and was issued in bad faith “incredible” and “unreasonable”.

He also rejected Trump's claim that the grand jury investigation concerned only hush-money payments made in 2016 by the president's former lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Reuters

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