Former President Donald Trump invoked his 5th amendment right and refused to answer questions relating to New York Attorney General Letitia James’s investigation into his business dealings.
The civil investigation is in relation to possible “fraudulent or misleading” business practices by The Trump Organisation.
Trump arrived at James’ offices accompanied by a motorcade just before 9am It was just after 10am that Trump announced he would take the 5th and then “declined to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States Constitution.”
“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. “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 lawyer Ronald Fischetti informed NBC News that Trump only answered one question, which was to confirm his name. NBC News also reported that Trump invoked the 5th amendment on 440 occasions.
Trump did read a statement where he referred to James’ probe as “the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country,” and went onto accuse James of “openly campaigning on a policy of destroying me,” Fischetti said.
The Fifth Amendment guarantees that a citizen cannot be forced by the government to provide information that could incriminate them. If a person chooses to answer a question by “taking the Fifth,” this is not an admission of guilt. “No person shall … be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself,” the Fifth Amendment states.
Letitia James’ office released a statement after the day’s proceedings. “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. Attorney General James will pursue the facts and the law wherever they may lead. Our investigation continues.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: BOSTON GLOBE
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