Former President Donald Trump has been ordered to give testimony under oath Monday in a lawsuit brought by a group of demonstrators who say his security guards roughed them up outside Trump Tower in New York.
The suit is one of at least 10 civil cases pending against Trump. The videotaped deposition — which will be played as Trump's testimony when the case goes to trial — will be his first since he was elected president in 2016.
The demonstrators' suit was filed in late 2015, and Trump's attorneys have tried many times to block him from testifying since then, including arguing in 2019 that he was too busy with his presidential duties.
State Supreme Court Justice Doris Gonzalez of the Bronx ordered the deposition to be held Monday at Trump Tower. The Supreme Court is New York's highest trial court.
"We will be taking the trial testimony of Donald Trump, under oath, on Monday after years of the defendants' dilatory attempts to shield him from this examination," said Benjamin Dictor, an attorney for the protesters. "We look forward to presenting the video of Mr. Trump's testimony to a jury at his trial."
An attorney for Trump didn't respond to requests for comment.
The incident happened in September 2015, when, according to allegations by a group protesting then-candidate Trump's comments about Mexican immigrants, Trump's security guards assaulted them on the sidewalk outside Trump's Fifth Avenue building. The suit charges that Trump's head of security punched one of the protesters in the head while trying to wrest away his "Make America racist again" sign.
Some of the altercation was caught on video by NY1 and in pictures by news cameras.
The protesters sued Trump, his company, his campaign and the guards in the incident, which they said disrupted their "peaceful and lawful assembly."
In a February 2016 affidavit, Trump said he shouldn't have to be deposed because he didn't know anything about the skirmish and hadn't been involved in hiring security.
"Given the breadth and scope of the business, I have delegated full responsibility and authority for the hiring and supervision of all security personnel and related security operations to Matthew Calamari," the Trump Organization's executive vice president and chief operating officer, Trump said.
Attorneys for the protesters contended that Trump was responsible for his employees' actions, and the judge ordered Trump to sit for a deposition, saying his testimony was "indispensable."
Trump appealed her ruling, and an appeals court granted Trump a stay while it considered his attorneys' arguments that a sitting president shouldn't be forced to testify in a civil case. The appeals court dismissed the argument as "moot" this year.