Former President Donald Trump said he declined to answer questions during a deposition on Aug. 10 in the New York investigation into his business.
“I once asked, ‘If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?’ Now I know the answer to that question,” Trump said on Truth Social after meeting with New York Attorney General Letitia James.
“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,” he added.
The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says in part that no person “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.”
The deposition came after months of delay following a judge’s order in February.
James, a Democrat who vowed while campaigning to take action against Trump if she won the election, began investigating the Trump Organization shortly after she entered office in 2019.
James has said that the investigation into Trump’s business uncovered evidence of fraud, and asked a court in the state to compel the testimony of Trump and two of his children. New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron ordered Trump, Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump to testify. An appeal was rejected by the state’s top appeals court in June.
Trump said that based on his counsel’s advice, “I declined to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States Constitution.”
James’ office declined to comment.
Subpoenas for documents and testimony were issued in December 2021. The subpoena for Trump ordered the former president to produce documents and commanded him to appear and testify “as to what you know regarding the subject of an inquiry by LETITIA JAMES, Attorney General of the State of New York, pursuant to New York State Executive Law Section 63(12), to determine whether an action or proceeding should be instituted with respect to repeated violations of the Executive Law.”
The law in question deals with fraudulent or illegal acts.
Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump were told they were wanted “to testify in connection with an investigation into the valuation of properties owned or controlled by Donald J. Trump or the Trump Organization, or any matter which the Attorney General deems pertinent thereto.”
The testimony may be recorded by stenography, video, and/or audio, the Trump children were told.
Trump’s lawyers said the subpoenas were improper because James was trying to “bypass the grand jury protections” in New York’s Constitution, asserting that information gleaned from the civil subpoenas could be used in a criminal case. Engoron said the argument “completely misses the mark,” ruling that the civil investigation had been ongoing “without the slightest hint that it was a subterfuge to garner evidence for a criminal investigation in the offing.”
The Trumps also sought a stay of the depositions. They were ultimately successful in delaying the depositions until the appeals court rejected the appeal.
From The Epoch Times