Donald Trump answers questions for seven hours during fraud deposition
Donald Trump reverses his decision to plead the Fifth and answers questions for SEVEN HOURS in $250M business fraud deposition brought by New York AG Letitia James – as he says he’s ‘eager to testify’ to clear his name
- Donald Trump was deposed on Thursday as part of a $250M fraud lawsuit
- He answered questions for seven hours and said he was ‘eager to testify’
- Also named in the civil lawsuit are his children: Trump Jr., Eric and Ivanka
Donald Trump answered questions for seven hours on Thursday during a deposition called by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
The former president was deposed for a second time as part of a $250 million fraud case in which he is accused of falsifying the value of his properties and which seeks to ban him from doing business in New York State.
Trump’s lawyer said he was ‘eager to testify’ to clear his name of those allegations and that he has ‘nothing to conceal’.
Trump was pictured leaving Trump Tower in Manhattan at around 9.30am before traveling by motorcade to the attorney general’s office, where prosecutors grilled him throughout the day.
His cooperation marks a departure from his approach during the first deposition last August in which he pled the Fifth Amendment 400 times and said he would be an ‘absolute fool’ not to.
However, the circumstances then were different as James had yet to officially file a suit against him. She did so a month later in September – a trial is scheduled for this October.
Donald Trump answered questions for seven hours on Thursday during a deposition brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James
He was pictured leaving Trump Tower in Manhattan at around 9.30am before traveling by motorcade to the offices of AG Letitia James
The lawsuit accuses Trump, the Trump Organization and three of his children – Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump – of providing false financial statements to lenders and business partners.
His three children were also deposed by the attorney general’s office beforehand last year – Ivanka and Trump Jr. both answered prosecutors’ questions but Eric invoked the Fifth.
James alleges that as a part of a more than decade-long scheme the Trump family and organization misrepresented their net worth and the value of their assets, including hotels and golf courses.
Shortly after Trump entered the Manhattan skyscraper that houses James’ offices on Thursday, his attorney, Alina Habba, said he was ‘not only willing but also eager to testify.’
‘He remains resolute in his stance that he has nothing to conceal, and he looks forward to educating the Attorney General about the immense success of his multi-billion dollar company,’ Habba said in a statement.
The lawsuit is unrelated to the felony criminal charges filed against Trump by the Manhattan district attorney, which led last week to his historic arraignment, the first for a former president.
In a social media post Thursday morning, Trump called the suit ‘ridiculous, just like all of the other Election Interference cases being brought against me.’
New York AG Letitia James (pictured in September 2022) alleges that as a part of a more than decade-long scheme the Trump family and organization misrepresented their net worth and the value of their assets, including hotels and golf courses
Trump’s lawyer said he was ‘eager to testify’ to clear his name of those allegations and that he has ‘nothing to conceal’
He raised a fist as he left his apartment at Trump Tower in the morning, arriving by motorcade at the attorney general’s office around 9.40am.
The two sides were in session for more than seven hours and also took a break for lunch – he departed in the motorcade just before 6.15pm and did not stop to speak to reporters.
James declined to answer a question about the deposition at a news conference on an unrelated matter on Wednesday.
In the first deposition on August 10 last year Trump met with James’ lawyers but refused to answer all but a few procedural questions.
At the time, James had not yet brought her lawsuit and it was unclear whether questions about the way Trump valued his company would become the basis of a criminal case.
‘Anyone in my position not taking the Fifth Amendment would be a fool, an absolute fool,’ he said in that deposition.
It was recorded on video and later released publicly. Trump predicted a ‘renegade’ prosecutor would try to make a criminal case out of his answers, if he gave them.
The motorcade of former President Donald Trump arrives at an Attorney General’s office building for depositions in a civil investigation in New York on Thursday
His cooperation marks a departure from his approach during the first deposition, during which he plead the Fifth more than 400 times
‘One statement or answer that is ever so slightly off, just ever so slightly, by accident, by mistake, such as it was a sunny, beautiful day, when actually it was slightly overcast, would be met by law enforcement at a level seldom seen in this country, because I’ve experienced it,’ he said.
Circumstances since then have changed. The criminal charges brought by the Manhattan district attorney focused on how the company accounted internally for payments to a lawyer, Michael Cohen, for his work paying off people not to go public with stories about extramarital sexual encounters Trump said never happened.
The lawsuit James brought is scheduled to go to trial on October 2 and will be heard by New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron.
Trump has two other ongoing cases.
He is facing 34 felony counts over hush money payments to Stormy Daniels as well as a sexual assault and defamation trial brought by columnist E Jean Carroll.
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