NEW YORK, NY – Parts of a deposition given on August 10, 2022, by former US President Donald Trump ahead of a $250 million lawsuit from the City of New York has been released by the New York State Office of the Attorney General.
The 37-minute-long footage shows Trump being questioned by New York Attorney General Letitia James and Kevin Wallace, the attorney general’s senior counsel, as part of a civil investigation into the Trump organization’s business practices.
The investigation was followed by a $250 million civil lawsuit filed against Trump, his eldest children, his business, and its top executives for inflating his net worth, local media reported.
The footage starts with a statement read by Trump, beginning: “This is the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country. There has never been another president or perhaps even another politician who has been persecuted, harassed, and in every other way unfairly treated like President Donald J. Trump.”
He continued to disparage James, saying: “What Leticia James has tried to do the last number of years is a disgrace to the legal system, an affront to the New York State taxpayers, and a violation of the solemn rights and protections afforded by the United States Constitution.
“This whole thing is very unfair,” Trump said.
“Anyone in my position not taking the Fifth Amendment would be a fool, an absolute fool,” Trump continued. “The United States Constitution exists for this very purpose, and I will utilize it to the fullest extent and defend myself against this malicious attack by this administration, this attorney general’s office, and all other attacks on my family, my business, and our country.
“Accordingly, under the advice of my counsel and for all of the above reasons I respectfully decline to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States Constitution. This will be my answer to any further questions,” he finished.
Following the seven-minute statement, Wallace asked Trump about his preparations with his counsel. Trump can be seen being handed a piece of paper from a person off-camera and asking: “Should I say this or should I respond to that?” to which the off-camera person replies: “Just read that.”
Trump read: “For all of the reasons provided in my answer, which is incorporated here in its entirety, I decline to answer the question.”
Local media reported that Trump gave this answer, or replied “same answer” more than 400 times throughout the course of the full interview, according to a New York attorney general court filing.
The New York attorney general’s civil case is scheduled to go to trial on October 2 this year, the report added.