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Trump pleads the 5th Amendment in New York attorney general's probe




Former President Donald Trump said he pleaded the 5th Amendment Wednesday and refused to provide answers under questioning in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ probe of his business practices.

Mr. Trump arrived at the New York attorney general’s office shortly before 9 a.m. in a multi-vehicle motorcade. The New York civil investigation involves allegations that his company, the Trump Organization, misstated the value of prized assets like golf courses and skyscrapers, misleading lenders and tax authorities over the years.

Mr. Trump said he invoked his constitutional right against self-incrimination because he was facing “a renegade and out-of-control prosecutor.” 

“This is a vindictive and self-serving fishing expedition,” Mr. Trump said in a statement. “The United States Constitution exists for this very purpose, and I will utilize it to the fullest extent to defend myself against this malicious attack by this administration, this Attorney General’s Office, and all other attacks on my family, my business, and our country.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump referred to Ms. James, who is Black, as “racist” in a post on his Truth Social platform.

In his lengthy statement on Wednesday, the former president said, “I once asked, ‘If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?’ Now I know the answer to that question. 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.”

His move comes two days after FBI agents raided his home in Palm Beach, Florida, in a probe over the possible mishandling of classified documents from his tenure as president.

“If there was any question in my mind, the raid of my home, Mar-a-Lago, on Monday by the FBI, just two days prior to this deposition, wiped out any uncertainty,” he said. “I have absolutely no choice because the current administration and many prosecutors in this country have lost all moral and ethical bounds of decency.”

Mr. Trump said in the statement, “under the advice of my counsel and for all of the above reasons, I declined to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States Constitution.”

The New York state attorney general is conducting a civil case against Mr. Trump and his company, but any testimony in the deposition could also be used against the former president in a parallel criminal probe being run by the Manhattan district attorney.

— This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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