5815932Michaele and Tareq Salahi, the aspiring reality-television stars whose unauthorized entry into the Obama administration's first state dinner resulted into a congressional inquiry into White House security, are vowing to invoke their Fifth Amendment rights if they are forced to appear before Congress.
The House Homeland Security Committee will vote tomorrow about whether or not to subpoena the couple. Last week, the head of the Secret Service accepted blame for the security breakdown and said three officers had been placed on leave in testimony before the committee.
The couple's lawyer sent a letter today to the leadership of the committee that included signed declarations from the couple that they will decline to answer questions.
The letter accuses members of Congress of coming to premature conclusions about the couple. It cites as one piece of evidence District of Columbia Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton's characterization of the couple as "practiced con artists who bamboozled the Secret Service" and "outlaws."
The letter also notes that Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee called the pair "the perpetrators" and that they were also compared to Bonnie and Clyde.
"The Salahis must contend not only with vilification by the press, but also with a treacherous legal environment that threatens criminal exposure," the letter says.
The Fifth Amendment affords Americans the right not to testify as a witness against themselves.
"I am aware of statements made by certain members on the Committee on Homeland Security in which premature conclusions concerning my criminal liability have been made," both Salahis declare in the letter, which asserts that the pair have "fully cooperated" with the Secret Service. "...The current circumstances warrant invocation of my Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination."