Donald Trump invokes the Fifth Amendment, refuses to answer questions in NY investigation


Former US President Donald Trump has said that he declined to answer questions while appearing under oath in a New York state attorney general’s civil probe into alleged fraud at his family business. “I declined to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States Constitution,” Trump said in a statement. “I once asked, ‘If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?’ Now I know the answer to that question,” the statement said.

“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,” he added.

The deposition came just days after the FBI raided his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida as part of another federal probe into whether he took classified records with him when he left the White House. Trump has been surrounded by a spate of legal activities in the past few days. 

Also Read | Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago home raided by FBI

The investigation into his real estate business practices, which Trump has termed a ‘witch hunt’, is led by Attorney General Letitia James. Allegations against the Trump Organization include misstating the value of assets like golf courses and skyscrapers and misleading lenders and tax authorities. This was all reportedly done to reduce tax burden, secure favorable loan terms from banks or to simply justify his place among billionaires across the world, Letitia James has alleged.

“In New York City tonight. Seeing racist N.Y.S. Attorney General tomorrow, 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!” Trump had written on Truth Social informing about the deposition.

Earlier this year, in a business filing, Letitia James had called Trump’s company’s business practices “fraudulent or misleading”. She had further stated that her office needs to question Mr. Trump and two of his adult children to understand who was responsible for that conduct.

Also Read | Tax returns of Donald Trump must be turned over to congressional committee, appeals court rules

Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. have already been questioned in the matter.

The deposition was initially supposed to take place last month but was delayed due to Trump’s ex-wife Ivana Trump’s death on July 14.

(With inputs from agencies)

 

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