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Trump lawyers keep up fight against tax records subpoena, plan new legal move

(Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday insisted that a grand jury subpoena for his tax returns was overly broad and issued in bad faith and that as president he deserves extra protection from what he called harassment by Manhattan’s district attorney.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks after signing executive orders for economic relief during a news conference amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, U.S., August 8, 2020. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

In court papers, Trump urged the Manhattan federal court to reject District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s motion to dismiss his lawsuit challenging the subpoena, which covers eight years of his personal and corporate tax records.

In a separate motion, Trump’s lawyer said the president will file another motion asking the court to allow him to learn more about the scope and purpose of Vance’s probe.

Trump has fought efforts by lawmakers and prosecutors to obtain his tax records, which should shed light on his financial dealings. He also defied decades of precedent as a presidential candidate by refusing to release tax returns.

Trump’s lawyers argue the subpoena is too broad because Vance’s probe concerns hush-money payments made in 2016 by the president’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, and “not some murky inquiry into broader financial practices.”

Vance’s filings have suggested the investigation involved “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization,” the president’s business, including alleged insurance and bank fraud. [L1N2F512B]

“The District Attorney naturally wants this case decided in one fell swoop,” Trump’s lawyers wrote on Monday, but said the Supreme Court had cited rules against “fishing expeditions” and harassment that applied with “special force” to the president.

A spokesman for Vance said the district attorney will respond in court papers. His reply is due on Friday.

Grand jury deliberations are secret, and the public may not learn what the subpoena to Trump’s accounting firm Mazars USA uncovers until after the Nov. 3 election.

The New York Times reported last week that Vance also subpoenaed Trump’s longtime lender Deutsche Bank AG last year, citing four unnamed people.

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to campaign violations tied to hush-money payments to pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who said they had affairs with Trump. Trump has denied it.

Reporting by Karen Freifeld; additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel; editing by Grant McCool and Howard Goller