Updated Aug 10, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Trump says he invoked Fifth Amendment in N.Y. attorney general deposition

Former President Trump leaves Trump Tower on Wednesday for a deposition with the New York attorney general's office.
Former President Trump leaves Trump Tower on Wednesday for a deposition with the New York attorney general's office. Photo: James Devaney/GC Images

Former President Trump said Wednesday that he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refused to answer any questions from New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) during a deposition for her office's civil investigation into his business' financial dealings.

Why it matters: The deposition comes as Trump has faced a new level of legal scrutiny and just days after the FBI executed a search warrant at the former president's Mar-a-Lago residence in an unrelated investigation.

What they're saying: “While we will not comment on specific details, we can confirm that today, our office conducted a deposition of former president Donald Trump. Attorney General Letitia James took part in the deposition during which Mr. Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination," a spokesperson for the attorney general’s office said Wednesday.

  • "Attorney General James will pursue the facts and the law wherever they may lead. Our investigation continues," the spokesperson added.
  • "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," Trump said in a post on his Truth Social account.
  • "I once asked, 'if you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?" Now I know the answer to that question," he also said.
  • "When your family, your company and all the people in your orbit have become the targets of an unfounded, politically motivated Witch Hunt ... you have no choice."

Driving the news: Trump earlier on Wednesday said that he would face questioning Wednesday from the New York state attorney general's office in its civil investigation.

  • Trump said on his Truth Social account earlier on Wednesday that 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!"

State of play: James opened a civil investigation into the Trump organization's financial dealings earlier this year, alleging the company used "fraudulent and misleading asset valuations to obtain economic benefits."

  • Trump and two of his adult children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, were scheduled to testify last month, but the office of New York's attorney general postponed the depositions after the death of Ivana Trump.
  • Trump has denied the allegations, saying that seeking the best valuations is a common practice in the real estate industry, AP reports.

The big picture: Wednesday's deposition comes as Trump is in the middle of numerous other legal battles, including the Justice Department's investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

  • The FBI investigation on Monday is likely related to documents Trump took from the White House that may have been classified, two sources familiar with the matter told Axios' Jonathan Swan.

Go deeper... Judge lifts Trump's contempt order in New York civil investigation

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new details.

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