A New York prosecutor on Monday suggested he was investigating President Donald Trump and his company for possible insurance and bank fraud – a much broader probe than previously known in an attempt to obtain Mr Trump’s financial records.
District attorney Cyrus Vance made the disclosure in a court filing, arguing that Mr Trump’s accounting firm should be forced to comply with a subpoena for his tax returns.
The subpoena is part of a grand jury investigation which until now was believed to focus on possible hush-money payments to two women who say they had affairs with the former real estate mogul.
The filing was in response to a bid by Mr Trump’s lawyers last week to block the subpoena, calling it “wildly overbroad” and “issued in bad faith.”
Mr Vance said Mr Trump’s attorneys were relying on a false assumption that the investigation was limited to hush-money payments, without specifying the focus of the probe.
The district attorney said in the filing that “undisputed” news reports about “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organisation” made it clear there was a legal basis for the subpoena.
In early July, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Mr Trump’s claims of presidential immunity in criminal investigations, potentially paving the way for Vance to obtain the records.
The Supreme Court did not order the tax documents to be handed over, and the ruling indicated the president could try to fight the subpoenas in lower courts.
Mr Trump has fought the subpoena for nearly a year and his lawyers have vowed to continue the battle in lower courts.
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