Trump invokes Fifth Amendment rights in deposition for New York AG James’ civil investigation – Fox News

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Former President Donald Trump said he invoked his Fifth Amendment rights, per the advice of his attorneys, during his deposition as part of New York Attorney General Letitia James’ civil investigation, calling it an “unfounded politically motivated Witch Hunt” and adding that he had “no choice” due to the Biden administration and prosecutors across the nation having “lost all moral and ethical bounds of decency.”

Trump was set to sit down with attorneys from the state attorney general’s office behind closed doors, just days after the FBI raided his home at Mar-a-Lago, as part of an unrelated federal investigation involving the National Archives and Records Administration and classified materials the former president allegedly took with him from the White House to Palm Beach, Florida, when he left office in January 2021.

In a statement Wednesday morning, Trump said: “What Letitia James has tried to do the last three years is a disgrace to the legal system, an affront to New York State taxpayers, and a violation of the solemn rights and protections afforded by the United States Constitution.” 

“I did nothing wrong, which is why, after five years of looking, the Federal, State and local governments, together with the Fake News Media, have found nothing,” Trump said. “We cannot permit a renegade and out-of-control prosecutor to use this investigation as a means of advancing her political career. New York deserves better, and this Country deserves better. This is a vindictive and self-serving fishing expedition, the likes of which our Country has never seen before.

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“The United States Constitution exists for this very purpose, and I will utilize it to the fullest extent to defend myself against this malicious attack by this administration, this Attorney General’s Office, and all other attacks on my family, my business, and our Country,” Trump said. 

“I once asked, ‘If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?’ Now I know the answer to that question,” he continued. “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.” 

Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower on his way to former wife Ivana Trump's funeral on July 20, 2022.

Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower on his way to former wife Ivana Trump’s funeral on July 20, 2022. (Credit: WavyPeter / SplashNews.com)

“If there was any question in my mind, the raid of my home, Mar-a-Lago, on Monday by the FBI, just two days prior to this deposition, wiped out any uncertainty,” Trump said. “I have absolutely no choice because the current Administration and many prosecutors in this Country have lost all moral and ethical bounds of decency.”

He added: “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.”

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The former president is the last member of the family to be deposed as part of the investigation. Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. were deposed earlier this month. All three depositions were expected to take place last month, but Trump’s lawyers had asked for a delay, after the unexpected passing of Ivana Trump, Trump’s first wife and the mother of his three eldest children, on July 14. The depositions had been scheduled to take place the next day. 

James’ office has been conducting a civil investigation into the Trump Organization to find out whether Trump and his company improperly inflated the value of assets on financial statements in order to obtain loans and tax benefits. 

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and has said the investigation is politically motivated and a "witch hunt."

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and has said the investigation is politically motivated and a “witch hunt.” (Felipe Ramales / Fox News Digital)

Those financial dealings that the New York AG believes could have been potentially fraudulent include properties such as Trump’s estate Seven Springs in Westchester, New York, 40 Wall Street and his residence at Trump Tower in New York City. 

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and has said the investigation is politically motivated and a “witch hunt.” 

James’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Trump’s statement and his decision not to answer questions.

Trump’s office, in a Wednesday morning press release, shared a video on Rumble that said: “Abusing the attorney general’s office to attack President Trump.”

The video shows James with a supporter saying, “Please sue him for us,” and James responding, “Oh we’re going to definitely sue him. We’re going to be a real pain in the a—.”

(Felipe Ramales / Fox News Digital)

The video shows another clip of James saying she “will never be afraid to challenge this illegitimate president.”

“We need to focus on Donald Trump,” James says in another clip. “We need to follow his money.”

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The video ends with another clip of James during her campaign saying: “This illegitimate president — I look forward to going into the office of the attorney general every day, suing him, and then going home.”

Meanwhile, simultaneously, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is conducting a criminal investigation into the Trump Organization’s financial dealings. That investigation was launched by former Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance in 2019 and was focused on possible bank, insurance and tax fraud.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James has been conducting a civil investigation into the Trump Organization. 

New York State Attorney General Letitia James has been conducting a civil investigation into the Trump Organization.  (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

The case involved financial dealings of Trump’s Manhattan properties, including his flagship Fifth Avenue building, Trump Tower and the valuation of his 213-acre estate Seven Springs in Westchester.

Earlier this year, new Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg stopped pursuing charges against former President Trump and suspended the investigation “indefinitely,” one of the top prosecutors who resigned from the office said in his resignation letter — but disagreed with the decision. 

But a spokesperson for Bragg insisted the probe “continues.”

“A team of experienced prosecutors is working every day to follow the facts and the law,” the spokesperson told Fox News. “There is nothing we can or should say at this juncture about an ongoing investigation.”

TRUMP FBI RAID: AGENTS SEIZE MAR-A-LAGO DOCUMENTS IN UNPRECEDENTED MOVE

In that case, a source familiar with the investigation pointed Fox News Digital, specifically, to Trump’s “Statement of Financial Condition,” which reports an entity’s assets, liabilities and abilities to raise and use funds.

The source told Fox News Digital that Trump did not inflate his financial statements, as prosecutors had anticipated, but instead, undervalued his assets. 

The source also told Fox News that Trump never defaulted on payments to banks, and said his statement of financial condition included “caveats” which “refuted” claims by the DA’s office.

Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan 

Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan 

The probe led to tax fraud charges in July 2021 against the Trump Organization and its finance chief Allen Weisselberg.

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Weisselberg was accused of collecting more than $1.7 million in off-the-books compensation, including apartment rent, car payments and school tuition.

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Both Weisselberg and the Trump Organization have pleaded not guilty.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Source URL: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/trump-arrives-deposition-new-york-attorney-general-letitia-james-civil-investigation

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