State Watch

New York tax investigators to discuss Trump Organization probe with Cohen's attorney: report

New York tax investigators are discussing the state's fraud probe into the Trump Organization and former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen with Cohen's attorney against the wishes of federal prosecutors, sources familiar with the matter told CNN

Tax department investigators are now at odds with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, which had requested that other offices pause inquiries related to the eight charges it brought against Cohen, which he pleaded guilty to last month.

"This is clear interference with an ongoing criminal investigation," a law-enforcement official involved with the situation told CNN.

Sources told CNN that the issue was further complicated by the fact that state tax officials are trying to include local prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney's office in the meeting.

Prosecutors typically seek to complete their investigations without interference from overlapping probes. While Cohen has pleaded guilty to bank fraud and campaign finance charges, he hasn't been sentenced and could still offer cooperation with the U.S. attorney's office.

A person familiar with the matter told CNN that federal prosecutors are still investigating whether Trump Organization executives broke campaign finance law.

The governor's office told the news organization they had not been told the tax department could not proceed.

"No one has told us that the southern district of New York advised the tax department not to proceed with their investigation," the counsel to the governor, Alphonso David, said.

Tax department spokesman James Gazzale told CNN after publication, "This is misinformation. Neither The U.S. 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."

CNN reports that Cohen's attorney, Guy Petrillo, could not be reached for comment.

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