Manhattan DA Subpoenas Trump Org Over Hush-Money Payments

NEW YORK (AP) -

Just weeks after federal prosecutors revealed they were through investigating hush money allegedly paid to protect President Donald Trump, the probe has been picked back up by state prosecutors in New York City.

The president’s family business, the Trump Organization, received a subpoena Thursday from the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., according to an attorney for the company.

“This is a political hit job,” said the lawyer, Marc L. Mukasey, in an email. “It’s just harassment of the President, his family, and his business, using subpoenas and leaks as weapons. We will respond as appropriate.”

The subpoena, first reported by The New York Times, was for records related to payments that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen helped arrange to a person with potentially damaging information on Trump.

Vance, whose office declined to comment, is a Democrat.

Federal prosecutors in New York and Washington both spent months probing payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign to two people with potentially damaging information on Trump.

Cohen, who made one of the payments himself and arranged for American Media Inc. to pay the other, pleaded guilty to campaign-finance violations other crimes and is serving a three-year sentence.

Trump has said that any payments were a personal matter, not a campaign expense.

The U.S. attorney’s office in New York informed a court this month that it was finished investigating the payments. No one besides Cohen was charged, though prosecutors said in public court filings that Trump himself was aware of and directed the payments.

The Trump Organization also reimbursed Cohen for money he paid. Cohen has argued that Trump Organization officials disguised the true nature of the payments and it is unfair that he is the only one prosecuted.

The federal inquiry looked at whether campaign-finance laws were broken.

The New York Times reported, citing “people briefed on the matter,” that Vance’s inquiry involves an examination of whether anyone at the Trump Organization falsified business records by falsely listing the reimbursements to Cohen as a legal expense.

Falsifying business records can be a crime under state law.