Trump says he took the Fifth Amendment in NY investigation

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump invoked the Fifth Amendment and wouldn’t answer questions under oath in the New York attorney general’s long-running civil investigation into his business dealings, the former president said in a statement Wednesday.

Trump arrived at state Attorney General Letitia James’ offices in a motorcade shortly before 9 a.m., announcing more than an hour later that he “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,” the 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.”

As vociferous as Trump has been in defending himself in written statements and on the rally stage, legal experts say the same strategy could have backfired in a deposition setting because anything he says could potentially be used in the criminal investigation.

His decision comes just days after FBI agents searched his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida as part of an unrelated federal probe into whether he took classified records when he left the White House.

The civil investigation, led by state Attorney General Letitia James, involves allegations that Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, misstated the value of prized assets like golf courses and skyscrapers, misleading lenders and tax authorities.

“My great company, and myself, are being attacked from all sides,” Trump wrote beforehand on Truth Social, the social media platform he founded. “Banana Republic!”

Messages seeking comment were left with James’ office and with Trump’s lawyer.