Trump refuses to answer questions in New York civil probe - GulfToday

Trump refuses to answer questions in New York civil probe

Trump-Aug2022

Donald Trump gestures as he departs Trump Tower on Wednesay, on his way to the New York attorney general's office for a deposition in a civil investigation. AP

Former US president Donald Trump said on Wednesday he refused to answer questions during an appearance before New York state’s attorney general in a civil investigation into his family’s business practices, citing his constitutional right against self-incrimination.

Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr. and daughter Ivanka Trump had fought unsuccessfully to avoid appearing for testimony in state Attorney General Letitia James’s probe into whether the Trump Organisation inflated real estate values to obtain favorable loans and understated asset values to get tax breaks.

“I declined to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States Constitution,” Trump said in a statement issued roughly an hour after he arrived in a motorcade to the attorney general’s office in lower Manhattan for the deposition behind closed doors.

The Constitution’s Fifth Amendment protects against self-incrimination. Trump’s decision not to answer questions still could carry consequences. Should the investigation lead to a trial, jurors could take his silence into account. Politically, it also could give adversaries ammunition about whether Trump has something to hide as he mulls another run for the presidency in 2024.

James has said her investigation has uncovered significant evidence that the Trump Organisation, which manages hotels, golf courses and other real estate, gave banks and tax authorities misleading financial information to obtain benefits.

Trump, a Republican, in his statement again denied wrongdoing and sought to portray the investigation by James, a Democrat, as part of a years-long vendetta against him by her and others including the news media.

“I once asked, ‘If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?’” Trump said in his statement. “Now I know the answer to that question.”

Trump added, “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.”

In the statement, Trump also made disparaging comments about James and violent crime in New York state. Trump attempted to link the state attorney general’s investigation to Monday’s FBI search of his Florida home Mar-a-Lago, which represented an escalation a federal probe into whether he illegally removed records from the White House as he left office in January 2021.

Neither a spokeswoman for James nor a lawyer for Trump immediately responded to requests for comment.

 

Reuters


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