Former President Donald Trump pleaded the Fifth in a civil lawsuit looking into the Trump Organization in New York state. It was a revelation that comes after years of Trump claiming that only mobsters plead their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Trump previously stated that only guilty people use their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.
“You see the mob takes the Fifth,” Trump said in a speech. “If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?”
During a presidential debate with former Secretary Hillary Clinton, Trump claimed, "When you have your staff taking the Fifth Amendment — taking the Fifth, so they're not prosecuted. When you have the man that set up the illegal server taking the Fifth, I think it's disgraceful."
Speaking to the New York Attorney General on Wednesday morning, however, his opinions changed.
"I recall Donald once stating only criminals plead the fifth. I agree…only criminals plead the fifth!" former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen told Raw Story.
Lawyers Tristan Snell and Andrew Weissmann both noted that because the New York Attorney General is doing a civil case into Trump, the fact that he pleaded the Fifth is a bit of information that the court can use to assume there's liability involved on his part. He said that it was something that Attorney General Letitia James actually was hoping for.
\u201cBREAKING: Trump pleads Fifth, refuses to answer NY AG questions about Trump Organization\u2019s alleged tax and financial fraud.\n\nThis is a civil case \u2014 so the court can draw an inference of liability. \n\nThis is exactly what the AG was hoping to achieve. The case is now even stronger.\u201d— Tristan Snell (@Tristan Snell) 1660142982
\u201cBREAKING: as the NY AG investigation is civil (at this point), Trump's assertion of the 5th CAN be used against him if the AG brings a civil case, unlike in a criminal case. At this point, one would expect that civil suit to happen in short order.\u201d— Andrew Weissmann (@Andrew Weissmann) 1660142871
You can read Trump drawing mockery and accusations of hypocrisy from other legal experts below:
\u201cHey #MAGA didn\u2019t Trump say something along the lines of \u201conly guilty ppl plead the 5th?\u201d\u201d— Andrew C Laufer, Esq (@Andrew C Laufer, Esq) 1660140914
\u201cPolitics is not why Trump is in grave legal jeopardy. Politics is why he avoided justice for so long.\u201d— Tristan Snell (@Tristan Snell) 1660143124
\u201cReminder: it's the Fifth Amendment privilege AGAINST SELF-INCRIMINATION.\u201d— Elizabeth H.C. McLaughlin (she/her) (@Elizabeth H.C. McLaughlin (she/her)) 1660140827
\u201cTrump: \u201cIf you\u2019re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth?\u201d\u201d— Miranda Yaver, PhD (@Miranda Yaver, PhD) 1660140806
\u201cHearing reports Trump took the 5th in his deposition with NY AG this morning, so, reupping this.\u201d— Joyce Alene (@Joyce Alene) 1660140924
\u201cDon Jr. and Ivanka did not plead the Fifth, likely because their involvement with the fraud was minimal.\n\nDonald Trump pled the Fifth, because he was almost certainly running the fraud.\u201d— Tristan Snell (@Tristan Snell) 1660143071
\u201cTrump lies with abandon in public media, but has scrupulously avoided testifying or submitting statements that could expose him to criminal liability, e.g. Congress, Grand Jury, NY AG investigation. Upshot: he is unwilling to have his statements subject to any objective scrutiny.\u201d— Andrew Weissmann (@Andrew Weissmann) 1660143118
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