Former US president Donald Trump invoked his legal right not to answer questions more than 400 times during a deposition about alleged fraud at his family real estate business, US media reports.
The 76-year-old Trump was questioned for four hours on Wednesday at the Manhattan office of Letitia James, the New York state attorney general, who is investigating the business practices of the Trump Organization.
The Washington Post says Trump stated his name and then cited the Fifth Amendment — which allows individuals to decline to answer questions to avoid self-incrimination — more than 400 times.
In response to queries from investigators about his businesses, property valuations and loans, Trump repeatedly replied “Same answer,” the Post says, a reference to the Fifth Amendment.
NBC News, citing a source with knowledge of the deposition, said Trump invoked the Fifth Amendment more than 440 times.
In a statement, Trump, whose Florida home was the target of an FBI search on Monday, defended his use of the Fifth Amendment.
“I declined to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States Constitution,” he says.
“When your family, your company, and all the people in your orbit have become the targets of an unfounded, politically motivated Witch Hunt supported by lawyers, prosecutors, and the Fake News Media, you have no choice,” he adds.