Trump invokes the Fifth Amendment and refuses to answer questions from NY’s attorney general, Donald Trump used his Fifth Amendment rights and refused to answer questions from the New York attorney general at a scheduled deposition on Wednesday, according to the New York Times.
The president-elect said in a statement that he declined to address questions about constitutional rights and privileges on the advice of his counsel and for the reasons stated above.
As part of a more than a three-year civil investigation into whether the Trump Organization misled lenders, insurers, and tax authorities by issuing deceptive financial statements, lawyers from New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office were set to depose him.
Earlier in the morning on Wednesday, Trump posted on Truth Social that he would be “For the continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in U.S. history, I see” James. My venerable business and I are under attack from every angle. In the name of bananas: Banana Republic!”
On Wednesday morning, Trump was photographed leaving Trump Tower in New York City and arriving shortly thereafter at the office of the New York Attorney General.
The former president is set to be deposed at the end of a busy court week. Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s primary Florida residence, was searched on Monday as part of an inquiry into the handling of confidential information. Tuesday, an appeals judge rejected his long-running bid to prevent a House committee from accessing his tax records.
While some of Trump’s aides had urged the former president to answer questions because he had previously testified under oath about his financial statements, others had counseled him against doing so because of the possible legal consequences. The Trump Organization is being investigated by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in a separate criminal probe.
The political ramifications of not answering questions at a time when Trump is widely expected to announce that he will run for president in 2024 were also considered, according to those aware, When he was running for president in 2016, Trump said that if someone refused to answer questions, they were guilty. “If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” Trump asked during a campaign speech in Iowa in 2016.
When asked Wednesday if he had an explanation, Trump answered, “Now I know.” He also denounced James’ inquiry. The Trump Organization and former President Trump have both previously denied any wrongdoing of this nature.
An unjustified and politically motivated witch hunt led by attorneys and prosecutors, as well as the fake news media, forces you to make a choice, as the previous President put it.
The Fifth Amendment prohibits the government from compelling an individual to divulge information that could be used against them. That right is invoked when someone refuses to answer a question by “taking the Fifth.” In no way does it imply that you’ve admitted guilt.
No one can be forced to testify against themselves, as the Fifth Amendment says.
Investigative work and prior depositions
Earlier this year, James’ office stated that it had found “strong evidence” that the Trump Organization had used fraudulent or misleading asset assessments in its financial statements in order to secure loans, insurance, and tax breaks. The civil investigation by the attorney general is nearing its conclusion, and a decision on enforcement action may be forthcoming shortly.
Following Trump’s failed attempt to prevent subpoenas for depositions from him and his children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, a showdown is set to take place on Capitol Hill.
People familiar with the situation say that Ivanka Trump took her deposition last week and that Donald Trump Jr. had his deposition towards the end of July.
“Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump did not exercise their Fifth Amendment rights and answered state’s inquiries,” the persons said of those who control the Trump Organization. Neither the question nor the response is clear.
While Eric Trump and Allen Weisselberg asserted their right to the Fifth Amendment more than 500 times when they were deposed in 2020, their ruling does not.
Even after he left office, Trump has been deposed and testified under oath in numerous legal disputes. Last year, he testified in a lawsuit involving an incident outside Trump Tower that was recorded on videotape. The trial is scheduled to begin in the fall of this year. To this day, Trump has maintained his innocence and denied any misconduct.
Concerns regarding Trump’s wealth have been raised.
Advisers have argued that Trump should answer questions about his finances because he has been questioned about the accuracy of his net worth and financial disclosures in previous litigation.
It’s very uncommon for people to make assumptions about a person’s net worth because of their “feelings,” and Trump has admitted to doing so in a defamation lawsuit deposition in 2007. As he testified, “I think everybody” exaggerates the worth of their properties.
Did he inflate the numbers? As Trump put it, “It’s not unreasonable.”
Documents and depositions reveal that, despite Trump’s claims that he delegated his valuation judgments to Weisselberg, he was nonetheless deeply involved in running his business.
In a 2007 deposition, Trump stated that Weisselberg was the sole person he worked with to prepare the financial statements.
In the deposition, Trump stated, “I would provide my viewpoint.” This is something we’ll discuss, and I think Weisselberg came up with the final ideals that Trump describes as “conservative,” so that’s what we’ll talk about.
When asked about year-to-year changes in the stock market’s value, Trump had answers ready.
According to Trump’s deposition, the value of Trump’s Seven Springs estate in New York virtually jumped from $80 million in 2005 to $150 million in 2006, when he was questioned.
In Trump’s opinion, the property was undervalued at the time and has since become extremely valuable.
He was questioned to see whether he had any evidence to back up his assertions.
I don’t think so, he said.
Jeff McConney, the Trump Organization’s controller, and Donald Bender, the real estate firm’s external accountant, have both been interviewed by the attorney general’s office and the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
Those who rely on Trump’s financial statements should be aware that they have not been audited, as Trump’s legal team is sure to contend. Several disclosures in CNN’s financial accounts indicate that they do not meet generally recognized accounting standards. As a result, it may be more difficult for lenders to claim that they were duped or misled by the transactions.
Cushman & Wakefield, Trump’s longtime appraiser, produced several of the appraisals that supported the property values that are now the subject of an investigation. After the Capitol incident on January 6, 2021, Cushman severed connections with Trump and has denied any misconduct and stands by its job.
Trump faces legal threats.
Trump faces serious legal ramifications as a result of the depositions.
“Adverse inference” can be drawn against Trump for not answering questions in the instance of James’ lawsuit against Trump, which could lead to a heavier judgment against him in the event that Trump is found guilty. If he responds to questioning, he could be held liable for both civil and criminal offenses.
There has been a slowdown in the criminal inquiry led by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Prosecutors had raised concerns about the strength of the case earlier this year when Bragg refused to allow them to present evidence to a grand jury. It is possible that a new grand jury might be convened to review the evidence in the case, which expired in April.
When it comes to simultaneous civil and criminal investigations, Bragg told CNN in April: “If there’s testimony in that proceeding, clearly we’ll look at it.” Bragg