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Wednesday, 24 February 2021

NY's Trump probe over more than just 'hush-money'

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NY's Trump probe over more than just 'hush-money'
NY's Trump probe over more than just 'hush-money'

The Manhattan district attorney's probe involving U.S. President Donald Trump is not limited to so-called hush-money payments made to two women in 2016 by his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, according to a court filing on Monday.

This report produced by Chris Dignam.

A court filing from Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance on Monday revealed that his investigation into U.S. President Donald Trump is not limited to hush-money payments to a porn star and a playboy model, it also focuses on "alleged insurance and bank fraud by the Trump Organization and its officers," among other things.

The disclosure from the New York prosecutor came in a federal court filing seeking to dismiss Trump's challenge to a subpoena for eight years of his personal and corporate tax records, which Vance said on Monday was part of an investigation of "possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization." Lawyers for Trump and the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Trump had argued that the Constitution gave him absolute immunity from any criminal proceedings while he's president.

But, last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that he is not immune from state criminal probes and that the New York prosecutor can obtain the president's financial records.

Last week, Trump filed a second lawsuit again seeking to block the subpoena, arguing it was "wildly overbroad." But, in Monday's filing, Vance said that argument "rests on the false premise that the grand jury's investigation is limited to so-called 'hush-money' payments made by Michael Cohen," Trump's former personal attorney, who said he made the payments on Trump's behalf in 2016.

Vance said on Monday that when he issued the grand jury subpoena to Trump's accounting firm, Mazars USA, last August, there were "public allegations of possible criminal activity" at the Trump Organization dating back a decade.

Vance urged the court to dismiss Trump's latest challenge to the subpoena "without delay."

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