Donald Trump on Wednesday left a deposition in Manhattan after some six hours of questioning under oath over pained fraud at his family business, having earlier vowed he would invoke his constitutional right to remain silent.
As his motorcade pulled away, the former president waved through the closed windows of his vehicle at a small crowd of onlookers flanked by Secret Service and police.
Trump earlier said he had “no choice” but to plead the fifth amendment to the US constitution — which allows individuals to remain silent under questioning to protect against self-incrimination — during a deposition at the New York attorney general’s office.
In a statement apparently issued after the deposition began, Trump said, “I declined to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States Constitution,” adding he took the advice from his legal counsel.
“I once asked, ‘If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?’ Now I know the answer to that question,” he continued.
“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.”
The deposition follows an extraordinary Federal Bureau of Investigation search earlier this week on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, signaling an escalation of legal probes into the 45th president.
He arrived early Wednesday in a convoy of cars guarded by the Secret Service at the offices of New York Attorney General Letitia James, whose investigation is one of several active probes into the brash billionaire’s business practices and other actions.