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A video of former US President Donald Trump declining to answer questions during a deposition last August at the New York Attorney General’s office by invoking the Fifth Amendment at least 400 times, has been released, according to sources.
Under the US Constitution, the Fifth Amendment guarantees that an individual cannot be compelled by the government to provide incriminating information about him/herself — the so-called “right to remain silent”.
“Anyone in my position not taking the Fifth Amendment would be a fool — an absolute fool,” CNN quoted Trump as saying at the beginning of the deposition on August 10, 2022.
The former President was summoned as part of New York Attorney General Letitia James’ civil investigation into the Trump Organization’s business practices, which culminated in a lawsuit filed by James in September 2022 against Trump, some of his children, and executives of his business.
The sources said that the video is a close shot of Trump and the investigators questioning him are not on camera although James can be heard introducing herself at the start of the deposition.
Following this, Trump read a lengthy statement calling James’ investigation “the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country” and added that he would be asserting his constitutional rights to not answer questions in the deposition, CNN reported.
In his opening state which lasted for about seven minutes, he accused the Attorney General was investigating him for political reasons and also referenced the FBI’s search of his Mar-a-Lago home, which occurred two days before the deposition.
Trump said he had “no choice” but to invoke the Fifth Amendment.
“We cannot permit a renegade and out of control prosecutor to use this investigation as a means of advancing her political career.”
The video released on Tuesday spans about 37 minutes and covers the portions of the deposition transcript that had been previously released.
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