Sun. Mar 26th, 2023

Former President Donald Trump on Monday gave four hours of sworn testimony in a lawsuit stemming from the alleged 2015 assault of protesters outside his eponymous skyscraper.

Mr Trump was sued in September 2015 by a group of civil rights activists who argued in court papers that they were “violently attacked” by Mr Trump’s private security guards, including Mr Trump’s then-head of security, Keith Schiller.

The lawsuit moved its’ way through courts during the remainder of the 2016 campaign and Mr Trump’s presidency, but attorneys for the activists were not able to depose him until this month, and only then on orders from a New York State judge.

Benjamin Dictor, an attorney representing the activists, told reporters outside Trump Tower that he and his co-counsel “examined Mr Trump concerning a variety of issues, including statements he has made at various campaign events and rallies that counsel believes encouraged violence at those events or encouraged security guards to engage in violence for the confiscation of property”.

“We secured answers to those questions and will present his testimony to a sworn jury in this matter as soon as possible,” he added.

In a statement to The Independent, Mr Dictor said he could “report at this time that Donald John Trump sat for approximately four and half hours under oath and answered questions concerning the events that occurred outside of Trump Tower on September 3, 2015”.

While he said he would not comment on the substance of Mr Trump’s testimony, Mr Dictor said he hoped today’s events would serve as “an example that our institutions have prevailed and no one is above the law”.

In a statement released by his political action committee, the former president said the case “should have never been brought” and declared that the plaintiffs “have no one to blame but themselves” for their injuries, adding that he was “pleased” to have been able to tell his side of the story.

“Rather than protest peacefully, the plaintiffs intentionally sought to rile up a crowd by blocking the entrance to Trump Tower on 5th Avenue, in the middle of the day, wearing Klu Klux Klan robes and hoods. When security tried to deescalate the situation, they were unfortunately met with taunts and violence from the plaintiffs themselves,” Mr Trump said.

Monday’s deposition could be the first of many sessions under oath that Mr Trump could face without the shield provided him by the presidency.

Earlier this month, a judge ordered him to sit for a deposition in a long-running defamation suit by former “The Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos.

He also faces multiple lawsuits over the 6 January attack on the Capitol, including one filed by several Democratic members of Congress and a separate suit filed by a group of Capitol Police officers.

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