In testimony with New York Attorney General Letitia James, former President Donald Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment right. However, some law experts have claimed that by doing so Trump has doomed himself in the civil case against him which was filed on Wednesday morning.
James has now announced that she would sue Trump, some of his family members, and executives of the Trump administration Allen Weisselberg and Jeff McConney for fraud over 10 years which helped Trump build up his wealth. Allegedly the involved parties had inflated their net worth Trump by billions to convince lenders to assist them through misleading financial data. During deposition Trump and his associates, all pleases the Fifth multiple times according to the published reports.
Pleading the Fifth provides people with protection from incriminating themselves during a criminal trial. In a criminal trial when the fifth Amendment is invoked a jury cannot use the defendant’s silence as an admission of guilt. However, in a civil trial, the protection it provides is questionable.
Former federal Prosecutor Renato Mariotti took to Twitter to say that both Trump and his son Eric invoked their Fifth Amendment rights “hundreds of times.” He argued that while there are cases in which invoking the fifth is wise, this is not one of them, as the presumption of an answer from a jury, which is allowed in a civil case, would most likely hurt Trump.
Senior political reporter Aaron Blake also tweeted saying that James’ office had filed a lawsuit against Trump. He also noted that pleading the Fifth in civil cases in New York can actually work against him instead of in his favour.