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President Trump sues Manhattan DA seeking to block tax return subpoena

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 16: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he meets with Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Crown Prince of Bahrain in the Oval Office at the White House on September 16, 2019 in Washington, DC. Recently Bahrain announced that it will join US-led maritime coalition to counter Iranian threats to freedom of navigation in the Arabian Gulf. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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

President 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 President Trump’s state and federal returns.

The lawsuit was not immediately made public. But President 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. President Trump’s accounting firm declined to comment.

The lawsuit opens a new legal front in President Trump’s long-running fight to prevent his tax returns from becoming public. It comes as the Republican president already is fighting efforts by Democratic-led congressional committees to obtain his tax returns and other records that could provide a window into his finances.

President 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 President Trump lawyer Michael Cohen helped arrange to porn actress Stormy Daniels, who claimed she had an affair with President 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 President 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.

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

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