Trump sues Manhattan DA, accounting firm in bid to protect tax returns from release
Looking into payments made to Stormy Daniels; John Roberts has the details.
President Trump filed a lawsuit against his own accounting firm, Mazars USA, and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance in federal court on Thursday in an effort to protect his tax returns from release.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. federal court in the Southern District of New York, comes in response to Vance’s move to subpoena Mazars for eight years of the president’s personal and corporate tax returns.
“In response to the subpoenas issued by the New York County District Attorney, we have filed a lawsuit this morning in Federal Court on behalf of the President in order to address the significant constitutional issues at stake in this case,” counsel to the president Jay Sekulow told Fox News Thursday.
On Monday, Mazars chief marketing officer Jennifer Farrington confirmed to Fox News that the firm had “received a subpoena” as part of Vance’s investigation, but would not provide further details.
In a statement, Mazars said the firm will “respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations.”
The firm added: “We believe strongly in the ethical and professional rules and regulations that govern our industry, our work and our client interactions. As a matter of firm policy and professional rules, we do not comment on the work we conduct for our clients.”
On Thursday, Mazars said they intend to “fully comply” with legal obligations, and that their “statement remains the same” with regard to the new Trump lawsuit.
The subpoenas to Mazars were reportedly issued late last month after the district attorney’s office opened a criminal investigation into the role that the president and his family business played in hush-money payments ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
Former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen orchestrated $130,000 payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who said she had a sexual encounter with the president in 2006, in the weeks prior to the election. The president had reimbursed Cohen for the money paid, but denied the alleged affair, saying that the payments were personal matters, not campaign expenses.
Cohen pleaded guilty last year to campaign finance violations, tax evasion, and other crimes and is currently serving a three-year sentence.
Meanwhile, Vance is not the only one seeking Trump's tax returns. In a separate case, the president sued the House Ways and Means Committee and New York state officials in July for employing an "unconstitutional" law to obtain his state tax returns, after the Treasury Department's move to block his federal records from release.
The suit was filed by the president, "in his capacity as a private citizen," in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the committee, New York State Attorney General Letitia James and commissioner of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Michael Schmidt.
That lawsuit came after the committee chairman, Richard Neal, D-Mass., earlier this month sued the Trump administration, accusing officials of violating federal law by refusing to comply with the panel's requests and subpoenas for the documents.
Days later, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law, titled the TRUST Act, which would allow lawmakers on Capitol Hill to obtain Trump’s state tax returns. Under previous law, though, state tax returns were required to remain private with an exception for law enforcement.
The president’s lawsuit in July also claimed that the new law was "unconstitutional" and “violates the First Amendment,” saying it was enacted “to discriminate and retaliate against President Trump for his speech and politics.”
The filing also claimed that the new law was part of “a larger campaign in New York to uncover and expose the President’s private financial information in the hopes of damaging him politically.”
Fox News' John Roberts contributed to this report.