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Former President Donald Trump invokes Fifth Amendment in New York attorney general's civil investigation

Former President Trump invokes Fifth Amendment at N.Y. AG deposition
Former President Trump invokes Fifth Amendment at N.Y. AG deposition 01:50

NEW YORK -- Former President Donald Trump pleaded the Fifth during his deposition on Wednesday with the New York Attorney General's Office.

The probe is part of a long-running civil investigation, which began in 2019, into his company's real estate dealings, CBS2's Naomi Ruchim reported.

Trump gave a thumb's up on the way to his deposition, where he declined to answer questions under oath.

Trump released a statement about invoking his right against self-incrimination, saying in part, "When your family, your company, and all the people in your orbit have become the targets of an unfounded, politically motivated witch hunt ... you have no choice."

"In the past, he'd said that only guilty people plead the Fifth. What he's trying to do is defuse one of those costs, which is making him look bad, making him look guilty, and making him look like a hypocrite," CBS News legal contributor Rebecca Roiphe said.

The civil investigation, led by Democrat Letitia James, is looking into whether the Trump Organization inflated the values of multiple real estate properties to get favorable loans and tax deductions.

James' office says it has collected substantial evidence that could support a lawsuit against Trump or his company.

The former president has also been lashing out against a separate federal probe into whether he illegally took classified material from the White House when he left office.

In an extraordinary move Monday, the FBI searched the former president's Mar-a-Lago estate, seizing boxes and paper documents, some of which are believed to contain classified information.

Trump's lawyers have suggested, without proof, the FBI may have planted evidence and Republican allies are calling for transparency.

"This raises serious questions again about the Biden administration politicizing and weaponizing law enforcement," Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said.

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden ignored questions about the FBI's actions.

White House officials maintain Biden had no prior knowledge of the search.

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