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Tax investigators to meet with Cohen's lawyer

New York state tax department investigators are scheduled to meet Tuesday with an attorney for President Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, as part of a state probe regarding Cohen and the Trump Organization that comes as federal prosecutors have asked state and local prosecutors' offices to avoid taking steps that could interfere with their federal case, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Posted: Sep 12, 2018 2:36 PM

New York state tax department investigators are scheduled to meet Tuesday with an attorney for President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, as part of a state probe regarding Cohen and the Trump Organization that comes as federal prosecutors have asked state and local prosecutors' offices to avoid taking steps that could interfere with their federal case, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The move puts state investigators at odds with the senior leadership of the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, which in the weeks since it charged Cohen with eight criminal counts has requested that other offices with related inquiries hold off on proceeding with certain investigative actions that might derail their efforts.

"This is clear interference with an ongoing criminal investigation," a law-enforcement official involved in the matter said.

Further complicating the situation is that state tax officials, who are examining potential tax fraud by the Trump Organization, have sought to include local prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney's office in any meeting with Cohen and his attorney, the sources said.

Federal prosecutors generally seek to complete their inquiries without the interference of other overlapping probes that could cause hiccups in their case. While Cohen has already pleaded guilty in the federal case, he has yet to be sentenced and could still seek to cooperate with the US attorney's office. In addition, federal prosecutors are continuing to pursue a line of inquiry stemming from their Cohen investigation, according to a person familiar with the matter: whether Trump Organization executives violated campaign finance laws.

The federal probe regarding the Trump company was first reported by Bloomberg News. A spokeswoman for the company didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the days following the federal charges, US attorney officials relayed their preferences to the Manhattan district attorney's office and to the state attorney general's office, which has its own related inquiries and has been coordinating closely with the US attorney's office, these people said. The attorney general's office then conveyed the federal prosecutors' message to the tax department and to the office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, according to the law-enforcement official involved with the matter.

The governor's office said it was never contacted on the subject. "No one has told us that the southern district of New York advised the tax department not to proceed with their investigation," said Alphonso David, counsel to the governor.

A tax department spokesman declined to comment prior to the publication of this story. After publication, the spokesman, James Gazzale, contacted CNN by email to say, "This is misinformation. Neither The US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York or any other law enforcement agency expressed that the US Attorney's Office did not want us to continue with our investigation of state tax matters."

Nevertheless, the tax department on Tuesday is set to meet with Cohen's attorney, Guy Petrillo, the sources said. It is unclear if Cohen himself is also scheduled to attend or if the prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney's office plan to join.

Tax department inquiries are designed to be independent of the governor's office, which isn't supposed to have any involvement in or knowledge of their proceedings.

Petrillo didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for the Manhattan district attorney's office declined to comment.

In August, hours after Cohen pleaded guilty to the federal charges, the tax department subpoenaed him as part of an inquiry into the Donald J. Trump Foundation and whether the charity violated tax laws, CNN has reported.

The tax department now also appears to be examining the Trump Organization based on information included in the federal charges against Cohen, one of the people familiar with the matter said. Court filings from federal prosecutors showed that Cohen submitted false invoices to the Trump Organization in an effort to get reimbursed for hush money he paid to women who had alleged affairs with Trump, which the White House has denied. According to the filings, the company then paid out those invoices as legitimate business expenses. That could be considered tax fraud, this person said.

The tax department is also examining whether the Trump Organization failed to keep accurate books and records, which is a crime under state law, this person said.

The tax department can't bring any criminal charges on its own, and if it finds any wrongdoing, the department would have to refer the matter to the state attorney general or another prosecutor's office.

UPDATE: This story has been updated to include comment from the New York state tax department offered after its initial publication.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 514171

Reported Deaths: 10285
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34920557
DeSoto33270432
Hinds32652642
Jackson24876391
Rankin22516404
Lee16366245
Madison14932283
Jones14129247
Forrest13785260
Lauderdale12279324
Lowndes11314193
Lamar10663140
Pearl River9720244
Lafayette8855143
Hancock7839132
Washington7553169
Oktibbeha7216138
Monroe7036179
Pontotoc7003109
Warren6872178
Panola6768135
Neshoba6732210
Marshall6686142
Bolivar6451151
Union640898
Pike5933156
Alcorn5887107
Lincoln5533136
George510380
Prentiss505385
Tippah492783
Itawamba4857107
Scott478199
Adams4771125
Tate4765117
Leflore4736144
Copiah457095
Yazoo456692
Simpson4554117
Wayne443172
Covington434695
Sunflower4315106
Marion4279112
Coahoma4238109
Leake414090
Newton395782
Tishomingo384894
Grenada3777109
Stone365766
Jasper340866
Attala338790
Winston317892
Chickasaw316167
Clay312578
Clarke301295
Calhoun285949
Holmes271889
Smith269452
Yalobusha244247
Tallahatchie232053
Greene224749
Walthall221866
Lawrence219141
Perry213456
Amite209857
Webster206248
Noxubee188743
Montgomery181857
Carroll174941
Jefferson Davis173843
Tunica163339
Benton153139
Kemper145041
Choctaw136727
Claiborne134439
Humphreys132139
Franklin126029
Quitman107628
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson96934
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845761

Reported Deaths: 16119
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161862004
Mobile742411381
Madison53315732
Shelby38351369
Baldwin38104589
Tuscaloosa36052641
Montgomery34492781
Lee25590263
Calhoun22598518
Morgan22459406
Etowah20026518
Marshall18790316
Houston17741425
St. Clair16904358
Limestone16153219
Cullman16067303
Elmore15912294
Lauderdale14991306
Talladega14209299
DeKalb12985269
Walker12067380
Blount10729192
Autauga10526157
Jackson10170194
Coffee9425192
Colbert9341208
Dale9024192
Tallapoosa7273201
Russell708865
Chilton7042170
Escambia6956143
Covington6943195
Franklin6338108
Chambers5785142
Marion5413130
Dallas5295209
Pike5123109
Clarke484886
Lawrence4831129
Winston4780110
Geneva4643136
Bibb434594
Barbour369980
Butler3439100
Marengo342393
Monroe337466
Randolph334867
Pickens333988
Fayette330085
Henry320766
Hale318489
Cherokee318363
Crenshaw260777
Washington256952
Cleburne254560
Lamar251953
Clay251169
Macon245064
Conecuh193162
Coosa185547
Lowndes178268
Wilcox177638
Bullock152545
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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