Trump says he invoked 5th Amendment in deposition for New York investigation




  • In Politics
  • 2022-08-10 14:56:26Z
  • By USA TODAY

Former President Donald Trump said in a statement Wednesday that he invoked the 5th Amendment during his deposition under oath as part of the New York attorney general's civil investigation into the Trump Organization's finances.

In the lengthy statement, Trump blasted New York Attorney General Letitia James as politically motivated and alleged he "did nothing wrong."

"I once asked, 'If you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?' Now I know the answer to that question," Trump wrote in announcing his decision to invoke his right against self-incrimination.

"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."

Trump's opponents mocked him over past comments criticizing people for taking the Fifth. During a campaign stop in September 2016, Trump said: "The mob takes the fifth. If you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?"

At the time, his comments were aimed at former staffers for Hillary Clinton who had  invoked the 5th Amendment during probes into Clinton's use of a private email server when she was U.S. secretary of state.

James' investigation began after former Trump attorney Michael Cohen told federal lawmakers in 2019 that Trump regularly inflated the value of his properties and net worth to get better insurance and loan rates. Her office said in May that it was nearing the end of its probe and investigators had amassed substantial evidence that could support legal action, such as a lawsuit, against Trump, his company or both.

Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti said Trump's decision has ramifications because James is conducting a civil investigation, not a criminal one.

"Trump was right to take the Fifth, but that decision has consequences," Mariotti

said. "While his silence can't be used against him in a criminal case, it can be used against him in the AG's civil case. If he is sued, jurors may be instructed they should presume his answers would have hurt him."

Trump probes: Trump in midst of gathering storm of investigations. Mar-a-Lago document inquiry is one of many.

Archives records: Trump records investigation: From early red flags to the search at Mar-a-Lago

Former President Donald Trump departs Trump Tower, Wednesday, Aug.
Former President Donald Trump departs Trump Tower, Wednesday, Aug.  

Trump has previously suggested the probe is politically motivated, saying James "literally campaigned on prosecuting Donald Trump even before she knew anything about me" earlier this year.

The former president's deposition comes days after his Mar-a-Lago home was searched by federal agents in connection to an investigation into allegations he took classified records from the White House, a potentially serious violation of the law.

Contributing: David Jackson, Kevin Johnson, Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump invoked 5th Amendment in NY probe targeting Trump Organization

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