Trump Says He Took the Fifth in New York’s Probe of His Business Practices | National News

Former President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he “declined to answer” questions under oath in a New York civil investigation into his business, invoking the Fifth Amendment.

Not long after arriving at New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office on Wednesday to answer question under oath for an ongoing civil investigation into his business practices, Trump released a lengthy statement disparaging James and implying that he would invoke the Fifth Amendment – which guarantees a right to refuse to answer questions to avoid incriminating oneself.

“I once asked ‘if you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?’ Now I know the answer to that question,” Trump said in the statement. “When your family, your company, and all the people in your orbit have become targets of an unfounded, politically motivated Witch Hunt supported by lawyers, prosecutors, and the Fake News Media, you have no choice.”

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The years-long investigation by James of the Trump Organization was spurred by testimony to Congress on what Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen described as misleading asset valuations. In March, the investigation by James’ office uncovered “significant evidence” suggesting that the Trump Organization for more than a decade relied on misleading asset valuations in its financial statements to “secure economic benefits,” the office said in court filings.

Trump for months sidestepped a subpoena from James’ office requiring him to answer questions under oath, arguing that the civil investigation was being conducted to aid a criminal investigation, which James’ office is also involved in. On Wednesday, Trump blasted James, whom he described as a “renegade and out-of-control prosecutor” for making a career out of attacking the former president.

The development comes days after the FBI executed a search warrant on Trump’s residence at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, which is thought to be part of an investigation into the handling of presidential documents. In his statement, Trump said that if there was “any question” in his mind about invoking the Fifth Amendment in the New York investigation, the FBI search “wiped out any uncertainty” – saying he has “no choice” because the administration and various prosecutors have “lost all moral and ethical bounds of decency.”

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