On Wednesday, during a six-hour deposition for the New York attorney general’s civil investigation into the Trump family real estate business, Donald Trump repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment protection against testifying against himself.
The court-ordered deposition in state Attorney General Letitia James’ ongoing investigation took place on Wednesday in a conference room on the 16th floor of her office in New York City. Trump and James have sparred in public statements and on social media, but this was their first time meeting face-to-face.
Later on Wednesday, a representative for James told ABC News that they would “not comment on specific details” but did confirm that “Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination” during the deposition.
Trump said in an email to reporters, “Under the advice of my counsel… I declined to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States Constitution.”
Like “the mob,” he now believes those who use the Fifth Amendment’s protections are guilty. However, he claimed during his deposition that the barrage of what he still characterized as partisan investigations had changed his mind.
His statement was filled with criticisms of James’ investigation, including calls to end it because it was “racist” and “Banana Republic” work.
After the deposition, Trump posted briefly on social media, shifting away from the scathing criticism he had received, and boasting about his “fantastic company with great assets.”
As she left the prosecutors’ office, Trump’s attorney Alina Habba also characterized the deposition as “professional.”
Habba merely stated, “It was fine.” “It was done in a very expert manner.”
There are several Trump-branded properties at issue in the civil investigation, including the building directly across the street from the one where Trump made his appearance.
According to James, her office found red flags regarding the Trump Organization’s valuation of its real estate holdings when applying for loans and tax breaks, suggesting fraudulent activity.
To this day, Trump continues to insist he did nothing wrong.
Shortly before his deposition, he made a statement on his social media platform, Truth Social, in which he said, “My great company, and myself, are being attacked from all sides. Banana Republic!”
On his way out on Wednesday afternoon, Trump was spotted waving to onlookers from the window of his motorcade as it passed by a crowd.
The federal investigation into his handling of classified information has reached a new level of scrutiny, necessitating his presence in New York. His Palm Beach, Florida, home was raided by the FBI on Monday.
After months of fighting the attorney general’s subpoena in court, Trump finally gave a deposition on Wednesday, postponed from July due to the death of his ex-wife Ivana.
While the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office was conducting their own criminal investigation, Trump argued unsuccessfully that he should not be required to sit for a deposition. Even though the Manhattan DA’s investigation is still ongoing, two top prosecutors left earlier this year because of the lack of an indictment.
James’s office attorneys have testified in court that a decision on an enforcement action is imminent.
Exactly one year prior to Trump’s deposition, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation in the wake of a separate investigation by James.
On Wednesday, her spokesman issued the following statement: “Wherever the evidence and the law may take her, [she] will follow them. We’re still digging into this.”
Will Steakin of ABC News provided assistance.
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