Alan Dershowitz: IRS Chief Lerner 'Can Be Held in Contempt'

Wednesday, 22 May 2013 06:40 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Lois Lerner, the Internal Revenue Service’s embattled director of Exempt Organizations, could be held in contempt of court and jailed for refusing to testify before Congress, civil-rights lawyer Alan Dershowitz says.

Alert: Obama Movie Exposes Frightening Agenda. Get the DVD Here.

"She's in trouble. She can be held in contempt," Dershowitz told "the Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

Story continues below.



"Congress . . . can actually hold you in contempt and put you in the Congressional jail."

Lerner, grilled Wednesday on the IRS' targeting of conservative organizations, invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination — but not before insisting "I have done nothing wrong."

Her brief statement of innocence has opened a legal Pandora's Box, according to Dershowitz.

"You can't simply make statements about a subject and then plead the Fifth in response to questions about the very same subject," the renowned Harvard Law professor said.

"Once you open the door to an area of inquiry, you have waived your Fifth Amendment right . . . you've waived your self-incrimination right on that subject matter."

He said the fact that Lerner went ahead with her proclamation of could be considered malpractice on the part of her attorney — although it's possible she overruled the advice she received.

"It should never have been allowed. She should have been told by her attorney that the law is clear, that once you open up an area of inquiry for interrogation, you have to respond," he said.

"Now she may have made a political decision that it's worth it to take the risk . . . That's just not the way the law works. It may be the way politics works . . . but she can't invoke the Fifth."

He said the issue goes back to the "bad old days" of McCarthyism, during hearings in which suspected Communists were grilled by the House on American Activities Committee and Senate committees.

"[They] tried to trap people by saying, look, you're a Fifth Amendment communist, you won't answer any questions," he said.

Latest: Is Benghazi a Cover Up? Is Obama at the Heart of It? Vote Here

"And the people would say we'd love to answer your questions but we can't because if we do, we waive [our rights] and then you'll ask us who our friends are and who else was a member of the Communist Party . . .

"The law is as clear as could be, that once you open up an area of inquiry, you can't shut off the spigot – that's the metaphor that the Supreme Court has used."

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Hamas Imam: 'Totally Exterminate' the Jews

Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 21:10 PM

A Hamas imam is calling for the organization to "totally exterminate" the Jews because "wherever the Jews lived, they sp . . .

US Resupplies Israel with Munitions as Gaza Offensive Rages

Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 17:19 PM

The United States has allowed Israel, waging an offensive in the Gaza Strip, to tap a local U.S. arms stockpile in the p . . .

Amid Vicious War, Endgames in Gaza Emerge

Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 15:48 PM

The savage fighting between Israel and Hamas is escalating in Gaza, cease-fire efforts take on elements of farce, and br . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved