WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — A former State Department employee who helped Hillary Rodham Clinton set up her private email server said he will assert his Fifth Amendment right not to testify before the House committee on Benghazi.
Attorneys for Brian Pagliano sent the committee a letter Monday saying their client would not testify at a hearing planned for next week. The panel subpoenaed Pagliano last month.
The letter was first reported Wednesday by The Washington Post. The top Democrat on the Benghazi committee, Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, confirmed the letter in a memo to fellow Democrats.
Mark MacDougall, Pagliano’s attorney, says his client would likewise “decline to produce documents that may be responsive to the subpoena,” according to CNN.
Cummings wrote that he is not surprised that Pagliano would wish to take the Fifth given what Cummings calls the “wild and unsubstantiated accusations” against Clinton, the former secretary of state and current Democratic presidential candidate.
“Although multiple legal experts agree there is no evidence of criminal activity, it is certainly understandable that this witness’ attorneys advised him to assert his Fifth Amendment rights, especially given the onslaught of wild and unsubstantiated accusations by Republican presidential candidates, Members of Congress, and others based on false leaks about the investigation,” Cummings said, according to CNN.
The congressional committee was launched to investigate the Obama administration’s response to the 2012 attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya. That probe has widened to include Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of state. Clinton has dismissed both controversies as “partisan games.”
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