James Devaney/GC Images Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump declined to answer questions while under oath at the New York state attorney general's office on Wednesday, instead invoking his Fifth Amendment right, he said.
The news that Trump would sit for a deposition in the civil case into his business dealings was confirmed by Trump himself, who wrote in a post on his social media site Truth Social that he would be "seeing" New York Attorney General Letitia 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!"
Trump later indicated he pleaded the Fifth Amendment during his testimony, the Associated Press reports, and refused to answer questions under oath. (As he indicated in his statement, he has previously criticized those who plead the Fifth.)
"I once asked, 'If you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?' Now I know the answer to that question," Trump's statement said, per the AP. "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."
Footage shared to Twitter by former Fox News host Greta Van Susteren shows Trump's motorcade arriving to the courthouse Wednesday morning.
Trump arriving for CIVIL deposition in nyc pic.twitter.com/AstvhQZWsF
— Greta Van Susteren (@greta) August 10, 2022
The testimony comes as part of James' civil investigation into whether the Trump Organization misstated the value of its assets on annual financial statements, tax submissions and other documents in order to secure loans and insurance coverage and obtain other economic and tax benefits.
James' office has said it has evidence of "fraudulent or misleading asset valuations" used by the Trumps to secure loans, insurance coverage and tax deductions.
"Each of the individuals was directly involved in one or more transactions under review," the attorney general's office said.
The Trumps fought earlier attempts to get them to testify in the case, previously asking a judge to quash what they called an "unprecedented and unconstitutional" bid for their testimony after being subpoenaed in December.
The court ultimately directed Donald, Donald Jr. and Ivanka to appear for testimony — a decision it reaffirmed after appeal.
President Trump's middle son, Eric Trump, who serves as an executive vice president at Trump Organization, was subpoenaed earlier on and testified in 2020. According to reports, however, both he and former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg asserted their Fifth Amendment right when questioned.
The Trumps have argued that James' investigation is politically motivated, which James has repeatedly denied.
The family is currently facing both a civil and a criminal investigation into the accuracy of Trump Organization financial statements. The criminal investigation has slowed after senior prosecutors resigned when a district attorney reportedly expressed doubts about the case, the New York Times reports, but the case remains ongoing.
Trump's Wednesday deposition comes amid other legal woes for the former president, whose Mar-a-Lago home was searched by federal authorities earlier this week.
On Monday night, Trump announced in an email statement sent to his supporters that his "beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents," declaring the search "prosecutorial misconduct."
The onetime Apprentice star added: "They even broke into my safe!"
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The probe reportedly hinges on whether he took classified documents from the White House and to his private residence at Mar-a-Lago after he left office, Politico, CNN, The Washington Post and other news outlets reported.
Doing so would violate the Presidential Records Act, which requires commanders in chief to preserve all documents during their tenure and hand them over to the National Archives and Records Administration when they leave office.