Thursday, December 10, 2009

If You're Not Lying, You Don't Plead The Fifth

The last time we heard from White House State Dinner crashers Michaele and Tareq Salahi (otherwise known as "really bad liars"), they were giving an interview to very hot Matt Lauer and vehemently stating that they had been invited to that dinner and that they had emails and all sorts of compelling evidence that would prove those assertions. Tareq even stated that he was looking forward to sitting on Matt's couch (who wouldn't look forward to that?!) and really telling him everything that he had deemed to be couch-worthy. Well, it's looking like they're going to get their chance to clear things up, as they've been subpoenaed to appear before a Congressional hearing to discuss the matter. Oh, but wait. Matt Lauer isn't going to be there. Maybe that's why they're saying that they're going to plead the fifth. Wait. What now?

That's right. These two dimwits, the same dimwits who couldn't wait to show everyone their emails that purported their invitation to the State dinner, are going to take the fifth. The fifth as in invoking their rights under the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution. That's the amendment that basically gives every individual immunity from having to testify against themselves in a criminal trial. A criminal trial? Granted, there are plenty of criminals in Congress, but that doesn't make a Congressional hearing a criminal trial does it? No, it does not. So, then...how can...why are....what the what?

Probably the instance that you are most likely to have heard of this sort of thing happening was when Colonel Oliver North took the fifth when he was testifying before Congress about whether or not he destroyed documents during the whole Iran-Contra debacle. Colonel North claimed that he refused to answer on the grounds that his answers would incriminate him for obstruction of justice. Now wait a minute.

If you're telling someone that you're not going to answer their questions because it could incriminate you for something, aren't you basically admitting guilt? I think that you are! It's like if you have your mouth full of cookies and someone asks you if you're eating cookies and you mumble out that you're not going to tell them because if you do, they will think that you're eating cookies...when you are eating cookies! What is wrong with these people?

This is, technically speaking and that being based solely on their previous lies, what they've been waiting for. This is their chance to shine! This is their chance to explain how they were, of course, invited to that dinner. It's their chance to explain and prove, once and for all, that they would not do something so audacious (as Michaele Salahi put it when speaking to the super hot Matt Lauer) as to barge into a White House State Dinner uninvited. The nerve of such a heathen who would attempt such a thing! Yeah, whatever. If they're ever going to write a book about this sort of stuff, instead of The Audacity of Hope, they should call it The Audacity of Dopes. What a couple of maroons.

According to a statement that I found over there on MSNBC.com, on December 7, the Salahis made the following statement: "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. ... The current circumstances warrant invocation of my Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination."

According to their attorney (who had better be working pro bono on this one, because he's never going to see a cent from these two grifters), a one Stephen Best, some of these conclusions included those made by District of Columbia Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton when she stated her characterization of the Salahis on Nov. 30 as "practiced con artists." Best also cited the chief oversight counsel of Chairman Bennie Thompson as telling "...the Salahis' lawyers that if the couple did not testify at the Dec. 3 hearing, they would be viewed as modern-day versions of "Bonnie and Clyde." I see. Seems like a reasonable thing to say. It also seems like something that, if it were not true, that one would be chomping at the bit whilst they waited to be able to explain and clear everything up. That's not what's happening here. Odd, isn't it? Uh, no. Not really.

Let's take a look at what the Fifth Amendment actually says, shall we? Mind you, I'm not saying that they can't invoke their rights at the Congressional hearing. They can, but I don't understand why when I read the context and the content of the Amendment that they're hiding behind. The Fifth Amendment reads as follows:


"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

They're not being held to answer for a capital or infamous crime. They're not being asked to testify before a Grand Jury. There's no Militia involved. There isn't double jeopardy (or Alex Trebek) involved. This isn't a criminal case. Deprivation of life, liberty or property isn't occurring. Private property has not been taken from them. So how in the heck does this apply to Congressional hearings? "I don't know" is my answer. But somehow (please see the earlier reference to Colonel Oliver North) it's allowed.

By the way, so far, so good in the department of not paying these nimrods to appear on any talk shows. That's gone remarkably better than I had anticipated. So far there's just been the one appearance on The Today Show, but that seems to have been swung through some sort of a contract that the Salahis were already under with Bravo (which is owned by NBC, which airs Today), so they had to talk with them. But other than that, nothing. And thank God for that otherwise, like I had alluded to in a prior post, every day life would have turned into an episode of Jackass with morons from near and far, from hither and yon, trying to pull off a stunt like this.

The only hurdle left to get over for the temporary salvation of humanity is whether or not Michaele Salahi will end up being cast on The Real Housewives of Washington, D.C. If she gets a gig on there, it's over. We're done. Goodbye, sweet America. It will be over if she gets that deal. Do the right thing, Bravo. Don't do it. Don't give every other grifter couple (or solo grifters) in this country any sort of ammunition for their own ego as to why they should start trying to do things that could endanger the life of our President or other elected officials. Granted, there are some elected officials who should fear for their own safety, grifters or not. There are some despicable human beings in lawmaking. But they shouldn't have to fear that two dipshoots are going to be able to make it through security and shake their hands or, in the case of Joe Biden, hump their leg. No one wants an unauthorized, breach of security, leg humpin'. No one.

And in my last slam on the Salahis (during this post, of course. Please! You should know me better than to not expect future slams!), I'd like to point out something. Here are the Salahis. Behold!

And here is super hot Matt Lauer. Behold!


Mr. Lauer is 10 years older than Mr. Salahi and 7 years older than Mrs. Salahi. Not the other way around. Super hot Matt Lauer is older than those two. Wow. Nice job, Matt. As far as the not-aging-well Salahis, perhaps stop trying to weasel your way into State dinners and do something respectable with your lives. Nothing accelerates the aging like being a lying weasel. Clearly.

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4 comments:

Rob said...

The fifth amendment protects against self-incrimination, and is primarily important because it protects the innocent. (See here.) It means that under no circumstances are you obligated to testify against yourself or answer questions regarding crimes you may have committed.

There have been several situations where I was nearly arrested despite committing no crimes; in each of these situations it is only because I attempted to answer the questions instead of taking the fifth that suspicion arose. Let me repeat: I was committing no crimes, but the police found my answers suspicious anyway.

There is nothing you can say that will convince people of your innocence. In the case of an arresting officer, anything you say that might help you in court will be dismissed as hearsay. Only the things you say which could incriminate you or make your testimony appear suspicious--and as the video I linked indicates there are lots of ways for this to happen, legitimate or otherwise.

This is not a criminal court, no. But it is an investigation into something which is pretty definitely a crime. Merely because charges have not yet been filed doesn't mean that they are compelled to testify against themselves. If there is a chance that your testimony will incriminate yourself of crimes committed, you are entitled to take fifth amendment protection, and you should always do so--even or especially if you are innocent.

It's a sad fact that the guilty are more likely to take their fifth amendment protections than the innocent, and this is why innocent people end up arrested. A simple, honest misstatement of fact can end up costing you your freedom.

So please don't make the mistake of assuming that because someone is silent on a case it is because the facts are against them. The fact that people make this assumption is doing serious damage to the American legal system.

Mare said...

Hi, Rob.

I appreciate your logical and detailed explanation. Thank you.

I understand the reason for the Fifth Amendment and the problems that can arise from not invoking it. What I don't understand is how a Congressional hearing is interpreted as falling under the guidelines of said Fifth Amendment.

And while I agree with you that it isn't advisable for anyone to be "assuming that because someone is silent on a case it is because the facts are against them", I disagree that that is the case with the Salahis.

Now, I'm not suggesting that they've done anything illegal. In fact, I don't think that they have. They were cleared to enter the State Dinner. Unless they forged documentation (which I have no reason to believe that they did, as there is NO evidence pointing to that AT ALL) or something of that nature, I don't think that a crime has been committed. This case is really more about the lapse in protocol with the Secret Service more than anything else.

And it is because of that lapse in protocol that I am disappointed that the Salahis will be taking the Fifth in this case. Again, I understand the scope of the Fifth Amendment, but I fail to see how it covers this sort of a setting. If our Secret Service was somehow conned into something that resulted in a breach of security, then for the sake of national security and the safety of the President, they should testify. I'm perfectly OK with granting them immunity from any sort of prosecution (that they don't really deserve) in order for them to testify for the sake of national security.

Thanks for reading, Rob. I totally appreciate your comments!

~ Mare

Rob said...

Ah.

I'm honestly not sure if a crime has been committed--is it criminal to crash a party in without an invite? Even if it's a State dinner? Is it still trespassing if they invite you in under false pretenses? I am not a lawyer and all that--but it is highly possible there are laws on the books that might make what they did count as criminal. I think that's what entitles them to protection: it's not clear if they committed a crime, and they shouldn't be compelled to incriminate themselves.

In this case, since it's pretty clearly harmless fameballing, granting them immunity from prosecution would make sense. The question is is there anything we can actually learn from them, any more than what we already know?

Mare said...

Hi, Rob.

I'm not a lawyer either (thank God), so I don't know if a crime has been committed either. I doubt that it has. After all, they were cleared to enter. I don't think it is like the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Awards Dinner where they were thrown out. That would seem to indicate some sort of trespassage, but again, I'm not a lawyer.

I'd hope that what can be learned from these two grifters is this:

Things can go too far.

Not rewarding sneaky, weaselly liars by putting them on a TV show would be a step in the right direction of discouraging abhorrent behaviors geared toward undeserved fame, publicity and monetary gains.

No one likes to be lied to in any context. Act accordingly.

Thanks for re-commenting. I always appreciate an intellectual conversation.

~ Mare