Former President Donald Trump was ordered to testify under oath Monday in a lawsuit filed by a group of protesters who say they were brutalized by his security officers outside Trump Tower in New York.
The lawsuit is one of 10 pending civil cases against Trump, and the videotaped deposition – which will be shown as Trump’s testimony when the case is heard – will be the first since he was elected president in 2016.
The protesters’ complaint was filed in late 2015, and Trump’s lawyers made numerous attempts to prevent him from testifying in the years that followed, including arguing in 2019 that he was too busy with his presidential duties. .
Bronx Supreme Court Justice Doris Gonzalez ordered the deposition to take place at Trump Tower on Monday.
“We will hear the testimony of Donald Trump, under oath, Monday after years of delaying attempts by the defendants to remove him from this questioning,” said Benjamin Dictor, lawyer for the protesters. “We look forward to showing the video of Mr. Trump’s testimony to a jury during his trial.”
A Trump lawyer did not respond to NBC News requests for comment.
The incident occurred in September 2015, when a group protesting the then-Trump candidate’s comments on Mexican immigrants alleges they were assaulted by Trump’s security guards on the sidewalk at the exterior of the Trump building on Fifth Avenue. The lawsuit accuses Trump’s security chief of hitting one of the protesters in the head as he tried to rip off his “Make America Racist Again” sign.
Part of the altercation was filmed by NY1 and in footage by press cameras.
Protesters sued Trump, his company, his campaign and the guards for the incident, which they said disrupted their “peaceful and legal gathering.”
In a February 2016 affidavit, Trump said he shouldn’t have to be impeached because he knew nothing about the skirmish and had not been involved in hiring security.
“Given the scale and scope of the business, I have delegated full responsibility and authority for the hiring and supervision of all security personnel and security operations associated with Matthew Calamari “said Trump, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Trump Organization.
Lawyers for the protesters claimed Trump was responsible for the actions of his employees, and the judge ordered Trump to sit for a deposition, saying his testimony was “essential.”
Trump appealed the ruling, and an appeals court granted Trump a stay while it considered his lawyers’ arguments that a sitting president should not be forced to testify in a civil case. The appeals court dismissed this argument as “moot” earlier this year.
Tom Winter contributed.