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Former US President Donald Trump arrived at the office of the New York state Attorney General’s office on Wednesday, but declined to answer questions. He was ordered by a court to show up at the AG’s office in connection with an investigation into his Manhattan-based real estate business, the Trump Organization.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Trump said, “Years of work and tens of millions of dollars have been spent on this long simmering saga, and to no avail. I declined to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States Constitution.”
Trump was scheduled to be questioned in a case wherein New York’s AG Letitia James has alleged a decade-long pattern of financial misstatements on documents used by the Trump Organization to win hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks and bank loans.
Trump had announced on his social media platform, Truth Social, that the deposition would go ahead on Wednesday. By 7 am, according to local media reports, Secret Service agents, the New York Police Department and several media representatives were in position at the lower Manhattan office building where the AG has her New York City office, and from which her inquiry has been launched.
According to several news agencies who reported on the day’s events, security was high in anticipation of the former President’s motorcade, including Secret Service agents conducting sweeps of the building’s underground parking garage.
Wednesday’s deposition was supposed to be the latest in a series of legal hurdles that Trump finds himself in. On Monday, FBI agents searched Trump’s home and office at his waterfront Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court panel ruled that Congress is entitled to view and investigate Trump’s tax returns.
The New York AG has sought since January to question Trump under oath about his financial documents. His original subpoena ordered him to appear before the Attorney General on January 7. Trump’s lawyers fought the subpoena in court for more than six months but lost in both the state Supreme Court and in the First Department Appellate Division, both in Manhattan.
As a result of those court losses, the former President and his eldest son and daughter – Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump – had been scheduled to be deposed on July 20, 21, and 22. But those dates were delayed with the Attorney General’s consent because of his former wife Ivana Trump’s death on July 14.
Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump – both of whom have served as Trump Organization Executive Vice Presidents – sat for their depositions last week.
Their brother Eric Trump, also a vice president for the company, invoked his Fifth Amendment right more than 500 times when he sat for a James deposition in October 2020.
The FBI raid at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago residence was in connection with unearthing classified documents he allegedly took home after his presidency ended. By law, a US President is expected to hand them over to the national archives. In addition, statements from Trump’s former associates on his alleged involvement in the January 6, 2021 US Capitol insurrection have put him in a spot of bother for his 2024 presidential run as Republicans are reportedly turning away from him and his best fundraisers looking for alternative candidates.
Trump has described all charges against him as part of a witch hunt by the Democrats.
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