The irony did not escape him. While he had suggested, in 2016, that only the mobsters exercised their right to remain silent, this is however what Donald Trump did on Wednesday, by refusing to answer the questions of the New York prosecutor during a hearing under oath for suspicion of financial fraud within his company. Two days after a spectacular FBI search at his home in Florida, he denounced a “witch hunt” justifying his refusal to cooperate.
The former president of the United States has been targeted since 2019, with two of his children Ivanka and Donald Jr, by a civil investigation by the highest magistrate of New York State, Letitia James.
He was heard in Ms. James’ office in the morning in Manhattan, but invoked the famous 5th amendment to the American Constitution, which authorizes not to testify against oneself. In 2016, he launched during a meeting, while Hillary Clinton collaborators refused to answer during a parliamentary inquiry: “It is the mafia that uses the 5th amendment. If you are innocent, why resort to the 5th (amendment)? »
” You do not have the choice “
On Truth Social, Donald Trump justified his decision: “When your family, your business and everyone in your orbit becomes the targets of an unfounded political witch hunt, you have no choice. “ He explains that if he still hesitated recently, the search of the FBI at his home, Monday, in Mar-a-Lago, convinced him. According to him, “our administration and many prosecutors in this country no longer have any morals. »
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The civil investigation against the family group Trump Organization had been opened after the explosive testimony in Congress in Washington by one of Donald Trump’s former personal lawyers, Michael Cohen, alleging fraudulent assessments, up or down , assets within the Trump Organization, to obtain loans, obtain tax reductions or better insurance compensation.
Letitia James had assured in January that she had “uncovered significant evidence which suggests that Donald Trump and the Trump Organization had falsely and fraudulently valued a number of assets”, in particular golf courses or the personal triplex of the American billionaire, located in the Trump Tower in New York.
Allegations swept away by Donald Trump’s lawyers. The Attorney General does not have the power to indict Donald Trump but she can initiate civil proceedings and in particular claim financial damages. The alleged facts are also the subject of an investigation, criminal this time, led by Manhattan prosecutor Alvin Bragg.
The hearing comes two days after an unprecedented search of Donald Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, sparked outrage among Republicans.
He even suggested on Truth Social that the FBI may have “planted” evidence against him during the operation. Never had a former tenant of the White House been worried by justice in this way.
Does the federal police search have to do with the many boxes that Donald Trump took with him when he left the White House in January 2021? Is it linked to the investigation into his responsibility in the assault on the Capitol? Does it rather concern the suspicions of financial fraud of which the Trump Organization is the subject in New York?
Neither the Department of Justice nor the FBI nor the New York City Department commented this week. Donald Trump, who ostensibly flirts with a new candidacy in 2024, claims his innocence in all these cases.