Trump Pleads the Fifth More Than 400 Times in New York Fraud Case, Deposition Video Shows
New video shows Donald Trump invoking the constitutional right against self-incrimination hundreds of times.
Video released Tuesday by CBS News shows Donald Trump invoking the Fifth Amendment hundreds of times during his deposition last summer in the New York attorney general’s fraud case against him.
Letitia James filed a $250 million civil fraud suit against Trump, his company, and three of his adult children (Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric). In the footage from August, the former president is seated in a Manhattan conference room answering James’s questions. By CBS’s count, Trump pleads the Fifth more than 400 times over the course of the nearly four-hour interview.
Trump pleads the Fifth so many times that at one point, he is told he can simply say “same answer” to speed up the proceedings. He declines to answer questions about the involvement of two Trump Organization executives in the fraud scheme or about his longtime accounting firm, which said that decades’ worth of his financial statements are unreliable.
At the end, Trump reads a prepared statement in which he calls the lawsuit “very unfair” and says that “anyone in my position not taking the Fifth Amendment would be a fool, an absolute fool.”
The Trump Organization was found guilty of tax fraud and fined $1.6 million earlier this month. James’s civil suit seeks to shut the company down in New York and sanction the four accused Trumps.
Trump also appears to have lied in sworn court documents for the civil suit. The presiding judge ordered him to provide defenses to James’s suit, resulting in a document that The Daily Beast says “read like a joke.”
In the document, Trump says he wasn’t president of the Trump Organization during his term at the White House, despite previously testifying he was an “inactive president.” He also said he didn’t have a financial stake in a real estate company, even though he previously testified that he did. His own lawyer even tried to argue there is no formal entity known as the “Trump Organization.”
Meanwhile, Trump is also facing investigations into his involvement in the January 6 attack, his alleged mishandling of classified documents, and his businesses’ finances. He is being sued by the Capitol Police and Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police for allegedly inciting January 6, and by writer E. Jean Carroll for both rape and defamation. The Manhattan district attorney is presenting evidence to a grand jury this week that Trump allegedly paid hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels.