NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump has invoked the Fifth Amendment Questions cannot be answered under oath in the New York attorney general’s long-running civil investigation In his business dealings, the former president said in a statement on Wednesday.
Trump arrived in a motorcade before 9 a.m. at the offices of state Attorney General Letitia James, declaring for more than an hour that he “refused to answer questions about the rights and privileges granted to every citizen under the United States Constitution.”
“I once asked, ‘If you’re innocent, why are you taking up the Fifth Amendment?’ Now I know the answer to that question,” the statement read. “When your family, your company and everyone in your orbit become the targets of a baseless politically motivated witch hunt backed by lawyers, attorneys and the fake news media, you have no choice.”
As Trump defends himself in written statements and on the rally stage, legal experts say the same strategy could backfire in the deposition system, as anything he says could be used in a parallel criminal investigation being pursued by the Manhattan district attorney. .
Messages seeking comment were referred to James’ office.
Wednesday’s events came amid legal proceedings surrounding the former president — just days before FBI agents searched his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. As part of an unrelated federal investigation into whether he took secret tapes when he left the White House.
A civil investigation led by state Attorney General Letitia James alleges that Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, misrepresented the value of valuable properties such as golf courses and skyscrapers, misleading lenders and tax authorities.
“My great company and I are being attacked from all sides,” Trump wrote earlier on Truth Social, the social media site he founded. “Banana Republic!”
In May, James’ office said it was nearing the end of its investigation and that investigators had gathered substantial evidence that could support legal action against Trump, his company, or both. The Republican affidavit — the legal term for sworn testimony not given in court — was one of the few missing pieces, the attorney general’s office said.
Former President Donald Trump will be sworn in Wednesday in the New York attorney general’s long-running civil investigation as a real estate mogul, he confirmed in a post on his Truth Social account.
Trump’s two grown children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, have testified in recent days, two people familiar with the matter said. The people were not authorized to speak publicly and did so on condition of anonymity. It is unclear whether they invoked the Fifth Amendment during their confessions. When their brother, Eric Trump, sat for a deposition at the same hearing in 2020, he called the fifth time more than 500 times, according to court documents.
The testimony of the three Trumps was initially scheduled last month, but was delayed after the July 14 death of Ivana Trump, the former president’s ex-wife. Ivanka is the mother of Donald Jr. and Eric.
On Friday, the Trump Organization and its longtime finance chief, Alan Weiselberg, will appear in court seeking dismissal of tax fraud charges against them. A parallel criminal investigation by the Manhattan district attorney last year — prompted by evidence discovered by James’ office. Weisselberg and the company have pleaded not guilty.
James, a Democrat, said in court filings that his office had found “substantial” evidence that Trump’s company “used fraudulent or misleading property valuations to obtain numerous economic benefits, including loans, insurance coverage and tax deductions.”
James alleges that the Trump Organization overstated the value of its stock or misrepresented what land it owed to reduce its tax burden to lure lenders. It points out that annual financial statements were given to banks to get favorable loan terms and to justify Trump’s place in the world to financial magazines. Billionaires.
The firm overstated the size of Trump’s Manhattan penthouse, saying it was nearly three times its actual size — a difference in value of about $200 million, according to James’ office.
Trump has denied the allegations, arguing that seeking better valuations is a common practice in the real estate industry. He says James’ investigation is politically motivated and that his office is “doing everything within their corrupt desire to interfere with my business relationships and political process.” He also accused James, who is black, of racism in pursuing the trial.
“nothing!” Trump said in a statement in February after Manhattan Judge Arthur Engron ruled that James’ office had a “clear right” to investigate Trump and other executives at his company.
Once his investigation is complete, James may decide to bring a lawsuit against Trump or his company, impose financial penalties or ban them from engaging in certain types of business.
Meanwhile, the Manhattan district attorney’s office has long pursued its parallel criminal investigation. No former president has been charged.
In their fight to block the subpoenas, the Trumps’ attorneys argued that New York authorities were using the civil investigation to obtain information for a criminal investigation, a ploy to avoid subpoenaing them to a criminal grand jury under state law. Immunity is given.
That criminal investigation appeared to be moving toward criminal charges against Trump, but slowed after a new district attorney, Alvin Bragg, took office in January: A grand jury that heard testimony was impeached. The top prosecutor handling the investigation resigned as Prague raised questions internally about the credibility of the case.
Bragg said his investigation comes in the wake of Trump’s decision to refuse to answer questions from James’ investigators during a deposition in a Manhattan office tower Trump — on HBO’s “Succession.”
Balsamo and Cisak reported from Washington. Associated Press reporter Jill Colvin in New York contributed to this report.
On Twitter, follow Michael Balsamo at twitter.com/mikebalsamo1 and Michael Sisak at twitter.com/mikesisak
Investigations on Donald Trump: https://apnews.com/hub/donald-trump
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