September 25, 2019 / 2:22 PM / 24 days ago

UPDATE 1-Trump, Manhattan prosecutors face off in court over tax returns

 (Adds filing by federal prosecutors)
    By Brendan Pierson
    NEW YORK, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Lawyers for U.S. President
Donald Trump appeared in court on Wednesday to urge a federal
judge to block Manhattan prosecutors from obtaining eight years
of the president's tax returns as part of a criminal
investigation.
    Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance subpoenaed the
returns from Trump's longtime accounting firm Mazars USA on Aug.
29. Earlier this month, Trump sued to block the subpoena,
arguing that a president is immune from criminal investigation
while in office.
    Federal prosecutors in New York, meanwhile, asked in a court
filing late Tuesday that the subpoena be put on hold while they
decide whether to take part in the case.
    U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero is scheduled to hear
arguments on whether to block the subpoena on Wednesday.
    Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for Trump, did not immediately respond
to a request for comment on Tuesday. A spokesman for Vance
declined to comment on the case.
    While campaigning for the presidency in 2016, Trump broke
with a decades-old convention of candidates releasing their tax
returns publicly.
    The lawsuit against Vance is one of several efforts by Trump
to shield his personal finances from investigation.
    He is separately trying to block Deutsche Bank AG          
from handing over his financial records, which the bank has said
include tax returns and which have been sought by Democrats in
Congress. A federal appeals court in Manhattan heard arguments
in that case on Aug. 23 and has yet to rule.             
    Vance argued in a court filing on Monday that Trump must not
be allowed to assert "blanket immunity from criminal
prosecution" or from "having to respond to any routine, lawful
grand jury request for information about his conduct or that of
his businesses or employees before he took office."
    He also said that Marrero, a federal district court judge,
does not have the authority to decide the case because the
dispute belongs in New York state court, where a grand jury
issued the subpoena.
    Mazars, also named as a defendant in Trump's lawsuit, said
in a statement that it "will respect the legal process and fully
comply with its legal obligations." It said that as a matter of
policy, it does not comment on its work for clients.
    The scope of Vance's investigation is not publicly known.
    The subpoena on Mazars came four weeks after Vance issued a
separate subpoena to the Trump Organization for records of hush
money payments to two women prior to the 2016 presidential
election. The women, the adult film star known as Stormy Daniels
and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, have said they had
sexual relationships with Trump, which he has denied.

 (Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York;
Editing by Noeleen Walder and Bernadette Baum)
  
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