ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — With former President Trump pleading the Fifth Amendment during his deposition yesterday, where exactly does this case stand?
The deposition, which lasted hours on August 10, is part of Attorney General Tish James’ civil case into Mr. Trump’s real estate properties.
“Now he has gone ahead and he’s answered over 400 questions with the fifth amendment and it’s telling, it really is telling as to what his focus is now going to be,” Tully and Rinckey Partner Leslie Silva noted.
Silva said the Attorney General will now have to produce a report following the deposition, from there she has two options.
“She can pursue settlement negotiations, and I’m sure she will,” said Silva.
James can also request what’s known as a “negative inference” based on Trump’s Fifth Amendment answers, which could imply that the defendant is hiding something. This is an option exclusive to civil cases.
“The other side can come in and say ‘well he didn’t answer, we want a negative inference that the answer was that he did have intent or that he did have the knowledge personally of the inflation of the assets,'” explained Silva. How the Attorney General acts next will be telling to what her motivation is in pursuing this case. One option may be that she wants to suspend the Trump Organizations license in New York.
“What she may not be able to do is to suspend him personally from doing business in New York, it depends on if she gets that negative inference and the weight of it that will be decided during court, during a trial,” she said.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Attorney General said, “While we will not comment on specific details, we can confirm that our office conducted a deposition of former president Donald Trump…Attorney General James will pursue the facts and the law wherever they may lead. Our investigation continues.”
The lawsuit accuses trump of inflating his assets so he could gain loans. Silva says it doesn’t seem like there were any damages done to the companies who provided Trump with the financing or insurance coverage. More will be revealed after the Attorney General releases her report.