The Manhattan district attorney’s office suggested that President Donald Trump and his business were under investigation over bank and insurance fraud, according to court documents filed Monday.
The documents — filed as part of an ongoing legal battle between District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. and Trump over Trump’s tax returns — mention “public reports of possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization.”
The office was already known to be investigating alleged hush-money payments Trump’s legal team made to two women who claim to have had affairs with Trump before he took office. The new documents suggest that the scope of the investigation is much wider than originally thought.
“This possible criminal activity occurred within the applicable statutes of limitations, particularly if the transactions involved a continuing pattern of conduct,” court documents read.
Last week, Trump’s current attorneys attempted to block Vance’s subpoena of Trump’s accounting firm Mazars USA, arguing that the subpoena was “wildly overbroad” and sought “irrelevant records.”
Vance’s team called on District Judge Victor Marrero to reject Trump’s claims because they impeded the investigation, noting that the delay in the investigation allows Trump to achieve “temporary absolute immunity.”
While Trump may think the subpoena is “overbroad,” that concern is based on a “false premise” that the investigation is only looking at Trump’s “so-called ‘hush-money’ payments” made by Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen in 2016, Vance’s team said.
Instead, the district attorney’s office noted that their probe was more broadly related to claims of alleged insurance and bank fraud by the Trump Organization and its officers.
Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison in 2018, after pleading guilty to lying to Congress about violating campaign finance laws by paying women, including porn star Stormy Daniels, to keep their alleged affairs with Trump secret.
The Supreme Court sided with Vance in July, rejecting Trump’s claims that the president of the United States should be immune from criminal subpoenas.
“The President is neither absolutely immune from state criminal subpoenas seeking his private papers nor entitled to a heightened standard of need,” the court said.