December 8th, 2009
07:35 PM ET
4 years ago

Attorney: Salahis prepared to invoke Fifth Amendment


The House Homeland Security committee invited the Salahis to attend a December 3 hearing, but they declined to attend. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Washington (CNN) - The Virginia couple who slipped through White House security and shook hands with President Barack Obama will invoke the Fifth Amendment, which protects against self-incrimination, if subpoenaed to testify to Congress, according to a letter from the couple's lawyer.

The House Homeland Security Committee is scheduled to vote Wednesday on whether to subpoena Tareq and Michaele Salahi to answer questions about how they gained entry to the White House on November 24 despite not being on the guest list to attend that night's State Dinner for the prime minister of India.

A lawyer for the Salahis sent a letter to the committee Tuesday saying the Salahis will not testify because of a pending federal investigation by the U.S. attorney in Washington, and because of statements made by some members of Congress about the Salahis last week.

The letter from lawyer Stephen Best said, "The Salahis must contend not only with vilification by the press, but also with a treacherous legal environment that threatens criminal exposure."

The letter said the Salahis have cooperated with the U.S. Secret Service during its investigation.

"They have provided documentation, including telephone records and copies of emails with a White House official, to the investigating agents," the letter stated.

The letter contained signed declarations by each of the Salahis saying, "I hereby respectfully invoke my constitutional right given the legally hazardous environment before me."

The same committee invited the Salahis to attend a December 3 hearing, but they declined to attend.

Cameras captured images of an empty table with name cards on it to represent the absent couple.

Their attorney wrote the committee asking that the Salahis not be force to take the Fifth Amendment in a public hearing, saying that would "result in an unnecessary media spectacle."

The letter attributed quotes about the couple and their situation to some members of Congress.

District of Columbia Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat, is quoted in the letter as calling the Salahis "practiced con-artists who bamboozled the Secret Service and perhaps others as they conned their way past
all required gate keepers....Clearly they were outlaws before they crashed the White House."

The letter also said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, called the Salahis "the perpetrators."

Filed under: Homeland Security • White House
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Texas Longhorn talks Truth

    What ever happens to the,"BUCK STOPS HERE". Meaning at the top of the heap President Obemma Stupid.

    December 8, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Throw themin jail where their wannabe butts belong and put an end once and for all to their shenanigans while simultaneously conveying a clear mesage that the White House is NOT to be "crashed" by them or anyone else.

    December 8, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  3. mjm

    Ok...time to let this go.

    December 8, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  4. Liberal4Obama

    So the Salahis love to show "uninvited" but when invited they don't show? Weird people

    December 8, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  5. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    The Salahis are indicative of the "look at me" culture this society has devolved to. Best bet is fine them, render them persona non grata at any and all DC functions and then ignore them. Pleading the Fifth and the resulting "unnecessary media spectacle" is exactly what they want. Ignore them and they will go away.

    December 8, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  6. No Incumbents 2010

    So now that they have an invitation to meet and speak with powerful Washington insiders, they have nothing to say?
    The Salamis already said they were invited, that that did not crash the state dinner, so they have nothing to hide and should testify.
    The Salamis should cooperate with the congressional investigation so all the facts can be established.

    December 8, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  7. Thomas

    Charge them with trespassing !

    December 8, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  8. Karl in Charleston,SC

    Investigate the matter, bring charges if warrented, try them and if found guilty, send them to prison.

    December 8, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  9. timz

    "Celebrity Lockup: Washington, D.C. - Our reality cameras roll as wannabe celebrities do hard time." I think the most popular episode will be the one where these losers spend the entire time in solitary so we don't have to see or hear them.

    December 8, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  10. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Be done with these people, they've had their moment of what was suppose to be flame now resulting in a crime. Hit them with a million dollar fine and forget it.

    December 8, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  11. Get Real

    THIS IS THE "DUMBEST" WASTE OF TIME!!!! This is as lame as the morons wanting Bush and Cheney gang in prison. GET A LIFE LOSERS!!!!!

    December 8, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  12. Kerzell, CA

    Put them both in jail until they're ready to talk. We've done it before and for a lot less!!

    December 8, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  13. whaley41

    Arrest them and put their butts in jail. Bet they will talk then.

    December 8, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  14. nathan smith ga

    throw these two in jail

    December 8, 2009 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  15. Ruggybee

    Well they will have to face the consequences of their actions. It was all fun and laughter when this idea was conceived with no regards for the potential danger of the idea all for $$$$. Reality shows in North America has turned most of our people into lunatics the things some people will do for fortune and fame....... Hey the way I see it if you do the crime you should serve the time.....

    December 8, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  16. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    Since they crave media attention at least as much as Palin, and seemingly have the same level of integrity, one should be her running mate in 2012.

    December 8, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  17. Old Fitz

    Do we care? No.

    Moving on...

    December 8, 2009 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  18. T'SAH from Virginia

    ARREST THEM!!! Why weren't they arrested? That was the worst security breach of all times and they were trespassers.

    I truly hope NO network picks them up for a reality show. That would be a double-slap in the face!

    December 8, 2009 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  19. Aaron

    Enough with them, stop giving them their 15 minutes of fame and send them to jail.

    December 8, 2009 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  20. karkri

    Can this couple be any more despicable? Yeah, they can get on to a live TV show and get all the publicity, but when it is time to fess up, yeah, they invoke the 5th. Now I am waiting for the day when these creeps write a book about their "experience" and America can't wait to lap it up.

    December 8, 2009 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  21. Karen

    Ahhhhhhhhh the famous Sheila Jackson Lee – what a joke!

    I do NOT approve of the Salahis' actions but bring in the White House Social Secretary to testify too. What difference does it make if she is a close personal friend of the Obamas. What in the world is this country coming to when a "secretary" is protected as if she were a real member of the elite White House group.

    December 8, 2009 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  22. Dem in AZ

    Figures. They just go togatherings they are not invited to. If they had nothing to hide and think they are innocent. They would of gone to capitol hill.

    December 8, 2009 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  23. R in Maine

    They should be arrested and invited to testify at their trial. A failure allocute should result in maximum sentence under the law.

    December 8, 2009 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  24. Perusing-through


    Dear Mr. and Mrs Salahis,
    How do you explain to the public as you promised you would, your legal and appropriate method for obtaining official invitation to President Obama's first State Dinner? How can you explain this if you take the fifth?

    December 8, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  25. Carnell From The Motor City!

    I Like The Line Of Them Being Vilified By The Press, That's Sad But True. I'm Certainly No Fan Of The Salahi's, But With Some In This Congress With Nothing More Than Political Grandstanding. This Lynch Mob Called Congres Want Answers From Everybody.

    December 8, 2009 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
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