Trump can't get in criminal jeopardy by pleading the Fifth — but he can lose a lot of money: former FBI agent
Donald Trump (Photo by Mandel Ngan for AFP)

On Wednesday's edition of MSNBC's "The Beat," former FBI Special Agent Asha Rangappa outlined the potential consequences of former President Donald Trump's decision to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights in a deposition for the New York Attorney General's probe into his family's business practices.

The Fifth Amendment famously protects the right not to incriminate oneself in legal questioning. But, noted Rangappa, that protection does not apply in civil cases — and could cost Trump a lot of money.

"You're saying while he has the right to plead the Fifth in a criminal probe, it is still okay in a civil case to treat it as a bad thing, as a kind of a guilty thing if someone pleads the Fifth because it's not being used to incarcerate them?" said anchor Ari Melber.

"That's right," said Rangappa. "In a criminal case, a jury cannot draw inferences of guilt from someone asserting their Fifth Amendment right, but in a civil case a jury can draw an adverse inference and there's a lower standard of proof. It's a preponderance of the evidence."

Trump has already come out the worse in other civil investigations by New York State, Rangappa noted.

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"The case that Trump is facing is financial penalties," said Rangappa. "We've seen this already when New York dissolved his charitable foundation, which he was misusing funds, and sent his kids to remedial training on how to be fiduciaries. You know, he doesn't like losing money but I suspect he's more willing to lose money than go to jail, and I think that's why made the choice he did today."

Watch below or at this link.

Asha Rangappa says Trump taking the fifth could cost him in civil litigation