White House gate crashers invoke Fifth Amendment
And, of course, the White House has asserted Executive Privilege in refusing to supply any information in this case.
WASHINGTON – White House gate crashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination Wednesday, refusing to answer a House committee's questions about their uninvited appearance at a .
The jet-setting Virginia couple repeatedly said they were remaining silent on advice of counsel, but that didn't prevent members of the Homeland Security Committee from peppering them with questions about how they got through checkpoints on Nov. 24.
Tareq Salahi read an opening statement in which he offered to have the couple's lawyers provide information about their appearance at the dinner for the prime minister of India. Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., rejected the offer.
A federal grand jury is investigating the Salahis to learn how they got past the Secret Service without invitations and shook hands with .
The Salahis' attorney, Stephen Best, said in an interview prior to the hearing that the couple believed they were invited to an arrival ceremony for the prime minister and the White House receiving line for the dinner.
The couple — she dressed in a white jacket and skirt, he in a dark suit — said they would be willing to return and testify after the criminal investigation is finished.
Best, the Salahis' lawyer, said in the interview Tuesday that a grand jury is still hearing witnesses.
The couple could be charged under statutes that prohibit making false statements to federal agencies or using false pretenses to enter federal property.
Best said his clients "maintain their absolute innocence and have not committed any criminal wrongdoing whatsoever. They will contest any charges."