Trump Pleads Fifth in New York Deposition
NEW YORK — Former President Donald Trump invoked his right against self-incrimination Wednesday during a deposition in the New York attorney general’s office.
Trump traveled to New York City from his home and golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, to purportedly answer questions stemming from Attorney General Letitia James’ ongoing civil investigation of his business practices.
But within minutes of his arrival, the former president’s office released a trio of emails featuring video clips posted to the right-wing video sharing platform Rumble.com, that he contends show the attorney general is carrying out a “radical witch hunt” against him.
Then came a lengthy eight-paragraph email in which he announced he “declined to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States Constitution.”
In the lengthy statement, Trump said that he was asked, “If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?”
“Now I know the answer to that question,” he 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.
“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. I have absolutely no choice because the current Administration and many prosecutors in this Country have lost all moral and ethical bounds of decency,” Trump said.
In the meantime, new details have begun to emerge about the FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida Monday morning.
According to an account first published by The New York Post, more than 30 plain clothes agents from the Southern District of Florida and the FBI’s Washington field office arrived at the complex at about 9 a.m. and remained on site until about 6:30 p.m.
The search warrant approved by federal magistrate judge Bruce Reinhart is alleged to have been solely focused on presidential records and evidence of classified information being stored there.
Mar-a-Lago, which also serves as a private country club in addition to being one of Trump’s primary residences, is closed for the season and reportedly only had a minimum of staff on hand during the raid.
Trump and his family are spending the summer in New Jersey.
The FBI agents were let into the compound by Secret Service agents who were already on the compound, and they immediately fanned out across the Trump family’s 3,000-square-foot private residence as well as a separate office used by Trump and a locked basement storage room in which 15 cardboard boxes of material from the White House were stored.
The boxes, reportedly packed up by the General Services Administration and shipped to Mar-a-Lago when Trump left office in January 2020, have been the subject of ongoing discussions between the former president’s attorneys and the National Archives and Records Administration, which wants them returned to Washington.
In May, the Post reported, FBI agents were granted access to the storage room and spent several hours going through the boxes. At one point during that earlier visit, Trump is even reported to have stopped by to say hello to the agents.
On Monday, the FBI agents reportedly demanded access to every room of Trump’s private realm, including what the Post described as “the sumptuous Versailles master bedroom, renovated by Melania [Trump] two years ago.”
Meanwhile, a separate group of agents – accompanied by a professional safecracker, the Post said – descended on the former president’s office and his safe.
According to the New York Post, an eyewitness to the search claimed the FBI said, “We have full access to everything. We can go everywhere.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s attorneys were kept outside the property to wait for the search to be finished.