Trump takes Fifth Amendment in New York deposition: live updates

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Former President Donald J. Trump’s legal danger appeared to escalate significantly on Monday with the stunning revelation that federal agents armed with a warrant had raided his Mar-a-Lago club and home in Palm Beach. , in Florida.

It was not immediately clear what investigators might have seized, but the search came after federal agents visited the Palm Beach estate in the spring to discuss documents Mr. Trump improperly took with him when ‘he left the White House, including many pages of classified documents. .

The mere fact that federal authorities took the remarkable step of searching the private residence of a former US president is a reminder of how much legal scrutiny Mr. Trump is facing as he plans to run for office again. the presidency in 2024.

He and his family have criticized the various investigations swirling around him as partisan or vindictive, and they have denied wrongdoing.

Federal prosecutors investigating attempts to overturn Mr. Trump’s defeat in the 2020 election have directly questioned witnesses about his involvement in those efforts. In Georgia, a criminal investigation is centered on his efforts to alter the election results there.

More immediately, Mr. Trump is set to be deposed on Wednesday by lawyers with the New York State Attorney General’s Office as part of a lengthy civil investigation into whether he and his family’s real estate business fraudulently inflated the value of its hotels, golf courses and other assets to obtain advantageous loans.

The status of the other investigations into the former president is harder to fathom, though one of them — a criminal investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office — appeared to run out of steam in the spring. (A case that had faded into the background reemerged on Tuesday, when a federal appeals court ruled the House could have access to Mr. Trump’s tax returns.)

Here’s where the notable investigations involving Mr. Trump stand.

New York State Civil Investigation

Mr Trump has fought for months to avoid the high-risk deposition he was due to sit on Wednesday, which could shape the outcome of New York Attorney General Letitia James’ civil investigation into him. and his family business, the Trump Organization. . (The deposition was due to take place in July; it was delayed after the death of his first wife, Ivana.)

Ms. James’ investigation, which is in its final stages, aims to determine whether the financial statements in which Mr. Trump valued his assets reflected a pattern of fraud or were simply examples of his penchant for exaggeration.

Ms James said in a filing this year that the Trump Organization’s business practices were “fraudulent or deceptive”, but that her office needed to interview Mr Trump and two of his adult children, Ivanka and Donald Jr., to determine who was responsible for driving.

The two sat down for depositions recently after the judge handling the case ordered them to do so. Their brother Eric was questioned in 2020 as part of the investigation and repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, according to a court filing.

The former president’s deposition follows a long legal battle that culminated in a state judge’s ruling in April that found Mr Trump in contempt of court. The move came after Ms James filed a motion asking that Mr Trump be compelled to produce documents requested in eight previous requests.

His lawyers said they searched and found no documents the attorney general did not already have. The judge nevertheless fined Mr. Trump $10,000 a day until he filed affidavits describing the search. The contempt order was lifted in May after he paid a $110,000 fine and submitted affidavits.

That same month, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by Mr Trump that sought to halt Ms James’ investigation because lawyers for the former president said she had violated his rights and that his investigation was politically motivated.

Because Ms. James’s investigation is civil, she can sue Mr. Trump but she cannot bring criminal charges. She could also choose to pursue settlement negotiations in hopes of getting a faster financial payout rather than filing a lawsuit that would undoubtedly take years to resolve.

If Ms. James were to sue and win at trial, a judge could impose heavy financial penalties on Mr. Trump and restrict his business operations in New York.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers would most likely argue in such a lawsuit that real estate valuation is a subjective process and that his company simply estimated the value of the properties in question, with no intention of artificially inflating them.

Manhattan Criminal Case

Despite its civil nature, Ms. James’ investigation and Mr. Trump’s testimony still carry the potential for criminal charges. Indeed, the Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation also focused on valuations of Mr. Trump’s properties before they appeared to collapse in the spring. He could earn a new life depending on how Mr Trump performs on Wednesday.

Alvin Bragg, the district attorney, said in April that the investigation, which began under his predecessor, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., was continuing, but he did not provide a clear direction.

Mr Bragg’s comments came after the departure of two prosecutors leading the investigation. One of them, Mark F. Pomerantz, said in a resignation letter published by The New York Times that he believed the office had enough evidence to charge Mr. Trump with “numerous” crimes. Mr. Pomerantz criticized Mr. Bragg for not pursuing an indictment in the case.

In his April remarks on the matter, Mr Bragg said new witnesses had been interviewed and additional documents reviewed, although he declined to provide details. Later in April, The Times reported that at least three witnesses considered key to the case had not heard from Mr Bragg’s office for several months or had not been asked to testify.

The investigation resulted in criminal charges against the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen H. Weisselberg.

Last July, before Mr. Vance’s term ended, the district attorney’s office instructed the company to set up a 15-year program to help its executives evade taxes by compensating them with perks hidden from the authorities. Mr. Weisselberg was accused of avoiding paying taxes on $1.7 million in benefits that should have been reported as income.

The case has been tentatively scheduled to go to trial later this year.

Georgia Criminal Investigation

Mr. Trump is also under scrutiny in Georgia, where Fani T. Willis, the Fulton County prosecutor, is investigating whether the former president and others criminally interfered with the 2020 presidential election.

Mr. Trump and his associates had numerous interactions with Georgian officials after the election, including a call in which he urged Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes,” the number he would have needed to overcome President Biden’s lead in the state.

It is the only known criminal investigation that focuses directly on Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results. In January, Fulton County’s top judge approved Ms. Willis’ request for a special grand jury in the matter.

On Tuesday, another Fulton County judge said Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s lawyer and central figure in the Georgia investigation, was due there to appear before the grand jury. Mr Giuliani, who had two heart stents implanted last month, had told prosecutors he was not healthy enough to travel to Georgia.

But the judge, Robert CI McBurney, provisionally ordered him to appear to testify in person on August 17. (Judge McBurney said he could reconsider the date if Mr Giuliani’s doctor produced an adequate medical excuse.)

“Mr. Giuliani is not allowed to travel by plane, AIR,” Judge McBurney said. “John Madden has traveled all over the country in his big bus, from stadium to stadium. whether Mr. Giuliani could get here without jeopardizing his recovery and his health. On a train or a bus or an Uber or whatever,” he said, adding, “New York is not close to Atlanta, but not traveling from Fairbanks.

Judge McBurney also said on Tuesday that prosecutors should let Mr. Giuliani, 78, know if he is the target of the criminal investigation. Ms. Willis’ office has already told at least 17 people they are targets.

Westchester County Criminal Investigation

In Westchester County, District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah appears to be at least partly focused on whether the Trump Organization misled local officials about the value of a golf course to reduce its taxes. She subpoenaed the company for records on the matter.

Trial in Washington D.C.

In January 2020, Karl Racine, the attorney general for the District of Columbia, sued Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee, claiming he had overpaid his own family business by more than $1 million or space at Trump International. Hotel during the inauguration in January 2017.

The lawsuit, which names the inaugural committee, the hotel and the Trump Organization as defendants, is set to go to trial in September, after a judge ordered it to go ahead.

Mr. Racine’s office subpoenaed a series of parties, including Melania Trump, the former first lady, and interviewed Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump and Thomas J. Barrack Jr., who chaired the inaugural panel.

January 6 survey

A House committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol — aided by more than a dozen former federal prosecutors — is examining the role Mr. Trump and his allies may have played in his efforts to retain power after his electoral defeat in November 2020.

Although the committee itself does not have the power to initiate criminal charges, it could refer the case to Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, to prosecute them through the Department of Justice.

Jonah E. Bromwich, Rebecca Davis O’Brien, Michael Rothfeld and Ashley Wang contributed report.

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