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Trump repeatedly pleaded the Fifth in hours-long deposition for New York AG probe: Sources


(NEW YORK) — Donald Trump on Wednesday invoked his Fifth Amendment protection against testifying against himself during an hours-long deposition as part of the New York attorney general’s civil investigation into his family real estate business.

The former president was seen arriving at the attorney general’s office in New York City around 9 a.m. local time and left about six hours later.

A source with knowledge of the matter confirmed to ABC News that Trump declined to answer questions from investigators in the deposition and, the source said, it is unlikely he will return for any additional questions.

A spokesperson for Attorney General Letitia James declined to comment.

Sources said the only question Trump answered was when Kevin Wallace, a lawyer in James’ office who has been leading the investigation, asked his name. Otherwise he invoked the Fifth each time.

In an emailed statement to reporters while he was in the deposition, Trump said, in part, “Under the advice of my counsel … I declined to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States Constitution.”

His statement also included lengthy attacks on the James’ investigation.

The attorney general’s office where Trump appeared is across the street from one of the Trump-branded buildings included in the civil investigation.

The attorney general herself began Trump’s deposition, sources familiar said — kicking off the six-hour exchange, including breaks.

Trump also read into the record a statement that echoed the one released by his office as the deposition began. He sat directly across from James as he accused her of political motivation. She did not react, the sources said.

As he left Wednesday afternoon, his motorcade drove by a number of onlookers and Trump was seen waving from the window.

The deposition in the civil case follows an escalation in a separate federal investigation into Trump’s handling of classified material. On Monday, the FBI searched Trump’s residence in Palm Beach, Florida.

Wednesday’s deposition, which had been delayed from July due to the death of Trump’s ex-wife Ivana, came after a months-long court fight during which Trump was held in contempt as he fought the attorney general’s subpoena.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and called the investigation politically motivated.

“My great company, and myself, are being attacked from all sides. Banana Republic!” he said in a statement on his social media outlet, Truth Social, shortly before Wednesday’s deposition.

Two of his grown children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, have already been deposed as part of the civil probe, sources said.

Trump argued unsuccessfully that he should not have to sit for a deposition while the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office was conducting a parallel criminal investigation. While the Manhattan DA’s case remains active, two senior prosecutors who had been leading it resigned earlier this year over the lack of an indictment.

James has said her office uncovered evidence of potentially fraudulent conduct in the way the Trump Organization valued its real estate holdings when seeking loans and when asking for tax breaks.

Lawyers in her office have said in court that the office is nearing a decision on an enforcement action.

ABC News’ Will Steakin contributed to this report.

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