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Issa: Lois Lerner Waived Her Right to Invoke the Fifth Amendment

Dave M Wrote: May 23, 2013 1:36 AM
5. Having said all that you can't use it against her in any legal proceeding because by definition- you don't know what she is hiding. 6. Issa did something really really stupid today- a classic un-forced error. He let someone run 100 yards for a TD when he had them on a 4'th and 10 on their own 1 yard line. 7. Now he WILL be seen as doing nothing more than piling on. Leave it to Republicans to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Cal18 Wrote: May 23, 2013 9:20 AM
You seem to have missed the point on precedence. Many people have made opening statements before then asserted their 5th amendment rights. Anything she said under oath prior to that can be used to prove perjury but she can answer or stop answering at any time.

In a court of law, it's all or nothing. If you say anything, you must be allowed to be cross examined. But congressional hearings aren't court rooms and Lerner did nothing wrong (in her testifying.) I personally believe she's hiding something to include her role in the slow walking, but the burden of proof isn't on her.
Earl29 Wrote: May 23, 2013 7:40 AM
Wiseone and you are right, snapper. Sorry, Dave, you aren't.
snappercat Wrote: May 23, 2013 6:48 AM
You can now, however, require her to testify in front of the committee.
wiseone Wrote: May 23, 2013 6:41 AM
Actually, the right to not incriminate oneself is often waived by defendants who wish to testify in their own defense. Judges routinely warn defendants before they take the stand in their own defense that they will not be able to assert their 5th Amendment rights once they begin to testify on their own behalf.

As Mr.s Duane pointes out, the application of this concept is significantly less clear with a witness who has been subpoenaed to provide evidence but is not charged with a crime.

As much as think Lerner is shi_tbag I must admit that if it was Scooter Libby or Karl Rove up there being asked to testify before Congress (as opposed to a Grand Jury) about Plamegate I would agree that they could invoke their 5th Amendment rights in reaction to any particular question.

What I disagre with about what Lerner did was that she made a general declarative statement of her innocence and then when Congressmen tried to investigate the veracity of her own statements she said she wouldn't answer any more questions.

I don't believe a witness should be allowed to invoke the 5th against questions after she has 'opened the door' with her own voluntary testimony, and I don't believe a witness who is not a defendant can invoke the 5th against questions she has even been asked yet.

There was no way Lois Lerner's part in the IRS saga would end quietly, even as she invoked her right to remain silent.

Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee,  boldly asserted this afternoon that Lerner "waived" her right to plead the Fifth Amendment when she made an opening statement at this morning's hearing. From POLITICO:

The California Republican said Lerner’s Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination was voided when she gave an opening statement this morning denying any wrongdoing and professing pride in her government service.

“When I asked her her questions from...