Federal judge blocks California from enforcing tax return law aimed at Trump

California Gov. Gavin Newsom

President Donald Trump asked a federal court Thursday to block an effort by NY prosecutors to obtain his tax returns as part of a criminal investigation, opening another front in the president's efforts to keep his financial information private.

Mr Trump's attorneys filed a lawsuit in US District Court in NY against the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr, who recently subpoenaed the president's accounting firm for eight years of Mr Trump's state and federal returns.

Trump's lawsuit says Vance's actions are politically motivated to "harass" him and hurt the President during his reelection campaign, and it says Vance's subpoenas are unconstitutional because they're part of an attempt to investigate a sitting President.

Mazars earlier this week confirmed it had received a subpoena from NY prosecutors seeking years of Mr. Trump's personal and corporate tax returns.

Vance also has subpoenaed the Trump Organization for records related to payments that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen helped arrange to a porn actress who claimed she had an affair with Trump.

Vance, a Democrat and longtime Trump critic, is also pursuing a criminal mortgage fraud case against Paul Manafort, a former Trump campaign chairman.

A message was left with Mr Vance seeking comment. In the meantime, Vance has agreed "to stay enforcement of and compliance with the subpoena" issued to Mazars LLP.

"Mazars USA will respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations", the accounting company said in a statement. "As a matter of firm policy and professional rules, we do not comment on the work we conduct for our clients". Cohen is now serving a three-year prison sentence after pleading guilty last year to multiple crimes, including breaking federal campaign finance laws related to the hush money payments. The two women alleged affairs with Trump, which he has denied, and the grand jury was looking into Trump Organization accounting of reimbursements for hush money payments related to the women's accusations.

A lawyer for the state of California, Peter Chang, argued the law was valid because it applies to all candidates.

"The subpoena is a bad faith effort to harass the president by obtaining and exposing his confidential financial information, not a legitimate attempt to enforce NY law", Trump's legal team added in the complaint.

The lawsuit was not immediately made public. Gavin Newsom (D) signed the bill into law on July 30.

Falsifying business records can be a crime under state law.

The federal law, known as the Ethics In Government Act, or EIGA, was originally passed in 1978 and applies to a range of top federal officials. He also argued the law could set off a slippery slope that could lead to more extreme candidate disclosures like mental and physical information.

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