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Trump sues Manhattan DA seeking to block tax return subpoena

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 16: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media before departing from the White House on September 16, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump is traveling to Albuquerque, N.M. to attend a "Keep America Great" rally. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump asked a federal judge Thursday to block an effort by New York prosecutors to obtain his tax returns.

Trump’s attorneys filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in New York against the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., who recently subpoenaed the president’s accounting firm for eight years of Trump’s state and federal returns.

The lawsuit was not immediately made public. But Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow told The Associated Press the lawsuit is intended “to address the significant constitutional issues at stake in this case.”

A message was left with Vance seeking comment. Trump’s accounting firm declined to comment.

The lawsuit opens a new legal front in Trump’s long-running fight to prevent his tax returns from becoming public and comes as his campaign is fighting a separate effort in California. A new law in the Democratic-led state says presidential candidates must release five years of tax returns to appear on the state’s March 2020 primary ballot. Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee have sued, and a hearing is set Thursday in federal court in Sacramento.

Meanwhile, Democratic-led congressional committees are trying to obtain his tax returns and other records that could provide a window into his finances. Trump and three of his children filed a lawsuit in April seeking to block two House committees from getting records that his longtime lender, Deutsche Bank, has said includes tax returns. And in July, the president sued to block the application of a new state law in New York that could allow a House committee to obtain his state tax returns.

Vance also has subpoenaed the Trump Organization for records related to payments that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen helped arrange to porn actress Stormy Daniels, who claimed she had an affair with Trump. The Democratic district attorney is also pursuing a mortgage fraud case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Vance’s inquiry appears to be covering some of the same ground as federal prosecutors, who spent months probing payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign to two women who said they had affairs with Trump: Daniels and model Karen McDougal.

Cohen made one of the payments himself and arranged for American Media Inc., the parent company of the National Enquirer, to make the other. He pleaded guilty last year to campaign finance violations, tax evasion and other crimes and is serving a three-year sentence in federal prison.

Trump has denied any sexual relationship with either woman and said any payments were personal matters, not campaign expenses.

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