Trump says he took fifth place in NY civil investigation. world News

Donald Trump invokes the Fifth Amendment and will not answer questions under oath in New York’s attorney general’s long-running civil investigation, the former president said in a statement Wednesday.

Trump arrived at the offices of State Attorney General Letitia James in a convoy just before 9 a.m. before announcing more than an hour later that he had asked “the rights and privileges granted to every citizen under the Constitution of the United States of America in question.” refused to answer.”

“I once asked, if you’re innocent, why are you taking down the Fifth Amendment?” Now I know the answer to that question,” the statement said. “When your family, your company and everyone in your class has become the target of a baseless politically motivated witch hunt backed by lawyers, prosecutors and fake news media, you have no choice.”

In written statements as vociferously as Trump and in defending himself on the rallying stage, legal experts say the same tactic could be counterproductive in a statement setting because everything he says could potentially affect the Manhattan District. May be used in parallel criminal investigations followed by attorneys. ,

Messages seeking comment were left near James’ office.

Wednesday’s events came as a flurry of legal activity around the former president — just days earlier, FBI agents searched his Mar-a-Lago property in Florida as part of an unrelated federal investigation into whether he had Classified records were taken upon leaving the White House.

The civil investigation, led by State Attorney General Letitia James, includes allegations that Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, misrepresented the value of prized assets such as golf courses and skyscrapers, deceiving lenders and tax officials.

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“My great company and I are under attack from all sides,” Trump had already written on social media platform Truth Social. “banana Republic!”

In May, James’ office said it was nearing the end of its investigation and that investigators had gathered enough evidence that could support legal action against Trump, his company, or both. The attorney general’s office said the Republican’s statement — a legal term for swearing that hasn’t been given in court — was one of the few remaining missing pieces.

Two of Trump’s adult children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, 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 not clear whether he invoked the Fifth Amendment during his statements. When his brother Eric Trump sat down for a statement in the same investigation in 2020, he invoked the fifth more than 500 times, according to court papers.

Three Trump testimonies were initially planned for last month, but were delayed after the July 14 deaths of the former president’s ex-wife, Ivana Trump, Ivanka, Donald Jr., and Eric’s mother.

On Friday, the Trump Organization and its longtime finance chief, Alan Weiselberg, were seeking to dismiss the tax fraud charges brought against them last year in a parallel criminal investigation by the Manhattan district attorney — uncovered by James’s office. inspired by evidence. Weiselberg and company have pleaded not guilty.

James, a Democrat, said in a court filing that his office has uncovered “significant” evidence that Trump’s company “used fraudulent or deceptive property valuations to obtain multiple economic benefits, including loans, insurance coverage and tax deductions.” used.”

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James alleged that the Trump Organization inflated the value of its holdings to influence lenders or misrepresent which lands were worth reducing their tax burden, allowing banks to offer favorable loan terms. Pointing to the annual financial statements given to secure and to financial magazines to justify Trump’s place among the world. Billionaire.

James’ office said the company also exaggerated the size of Trump’s Manhattan penthouse, making it nearly three times its actual size — a price difference of about $200 million.

Trump has denied the allegations, arguing that seeking the best appraisals is a common practice in the real estate industry. He says the James investigation is politically motivated and that his office is “doing everything within its corrupt conscience to interfere with my business relationships and the political process.” He has accused James, who is black, of racism in furthering the investigation.

“It doesn’t matter!” In a February statement, Trump said in a February statement, Manhattan Judge Arthur Angoron ruled that James’ office had a “clear authority” to question Trump and other principals of his company.

Once his investigation ends, James may decide to bring suit and seek financial penalties against Trump or his company, or even a ban on engaging in certain types of businesses. can put

Meanwhile, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office has long conducted its own parallel criminal investigation. No former president has even been charged with a crime.

In the fight to block the summons, Trump’s lawyers argued that New York officials were using the civil investigation to obtain information for criminal investigations and that the statements were to avoid calling them before a criminal grand jury. There was a trick, where state law requires. given immunity.

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That criminal investigation was moving toward a possible criminal indictment of Trump, but slowed in January after a new district attorney, Alvin Bragg, took office: a grand jury that was decrying the evidence. The top prosecutor overseeing the investigation resigned after Bragg raised questions internally about the viability of the case.

Bragg has said his investigation is ongoing, which may be behind Trump’s decision to refuse to answer investigators’ questions about James during a statement at the Manhattan office tower, which serves as the headquarters of the fictional group Vestar Royco. — by a character inspired partly by Trump — on HBO’s “Succession.”