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Manhattan County Attorney says Trump has no right to additional defense against grand jury summons

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Image: Cyrus Vance Jr., District Attorney of New York County. Source: ManhattanDA.org

Written by Karen Freifeld

(Reuters) – US President Donald Trump has no right to greater protection from a grand jury summons for his tax returns just because he is president, a Manhattan County Attorney said in a court statement on Friday.

District Attorney Cyrus Vance responded to an argument by Trump’s lawyers that the president deserves additional protection from what he called persecution.

Last August, Vance issued a subpoena to Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, demanding eight years of his business and personal income and other documents.

Trump has repeatedly battled efforts by lawmakers and prosecutors to obtain his tax returns, which should shed light on his financial transactions. He also challenged decades of precedents as a candidate by refusing to publish tax returns.

Trump filed his latest subpoena in a jury trial last month after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled he was not safe from state criminal investigations at the White House. The court said Trump could fight the subpoena on other grounds.

Vance asked a judge to reject Trump’s challenge, which was filed in Manhattan federal court.

The grand jury’s talks are secret, but Vance suggested the investigation involved “possibly widespread and protracted criminal activity in the Trump Organization,” the president’s business, including alleged insurance and banking fraud.

In a statement Friday, his office said Trump was not entitled to additional protection from the subpoena unless it would significantly impede his presidential duties. He said Trump had not put forward arguments that met those standards.

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Vance also called Trump’s allegations that the summons was excessive and was issued in bad faith, “unbelievable” and “unfounded.”

He rejected Trump’s assertion that the grand jury’s investigation concerned only cash payments made in 2016 by former presidential lawyer Michael Cohen.

In a separate letter to Judge, Vance’s lawyer Carrie Dunn said Trump was not entitled to additional information about the investigation, rejecting the proposed motion of Trump’s lawyers.

Last month, Dan warned U.S. District Judge Victor Morer not to allow delays to kill the case, noting the approaching deadline for prosecuting crimes due to the statute of limitations.

Report by Karen Freifeld; Edited by Noelin Walder; Edited by Chizu Nomiyama, Alistair Bell and Richard Chang

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Source: Reuters

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