Former President Trump declined to answer questions when asked about the civil investigation by New York attorney general Letitia James’s office. Trump invoked his fifth amendment privilege and also spoke about the move shortly after.
“I once asked, ‘If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?’ Now I know the answer to that question,” Trump said in a furious statement that railed against James as a renegade prosecutor with a vendetta against him.
“When your family, your company, and all the people in your orbit have become the targets of an unfounded, politically motivated Witch Hunt supported by lawyers, prosecutors, and the Fake News Media, you have no choice,” Trump said.
“Accordingly, under the advice of my counsel and for all of the above reasons, I declined to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States Constitution,” he said.
It’s been a rocky start to the week for former President Donald Trump. First, the FBI conducted a raid at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida Monday evening. Then the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the House Ways and Means Committee could obtain his tax returns.
Trump’s deposition marks the end of James’ long-standing investigation into the Trump Organization’s financial dealing within New York. Letitia James’s office alleges they have found “substantial” evidence the Trump Organization used “false or misleading asset valuations in its financial statements to obtain loans, insurance, and tax benefits.”
As CBS News describes, the subpoenas sought “testimony and documents in connection with an investigation into the valuation of properties owned or controlled by Donald J. Trump or the Trump Organization, or any matter which the Attorney General deems pertinent.”
While the former President finally agreed to talk under oath today, it didn’t come without difficulty. Trump’s original subpoena had ordered him to appear before the attorney general on January 7. Trump’s lawyers fought the subpoena in court for more than six months, but lost appeals in the state Supreme Court and the First Department Appellate Division. Trump was even held in contempt at one point for delaying to appear for the deposition.
In a post on Truth Social early Wednesday morning, Trump said he would be “seeing” James “for a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in U.S. history! My great company, and myself, are being attacked from all sides. Banana Republic!”
A couple of days ago, Cushman & Wakefield provided the New York attorney general with over 36,000 documents regarding appraisals of several Trump Organization properties after being held in contempt. Trump’s children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, both sat for their own depositions after the passing of their mother, Ivana Trump.