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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination being invoked by President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, is a bedrock legal principle. It’s enshrined in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights and relied on by witnesses before Congress and the courts alike.

A look at those protections and elements of the Flynn case:

NO SELF-INCRIMINATION

The amendment provides numerous legal protections for defendants, including the right to have evidence presented to a grand jury. But the best-known provision is one that shields a witness from self-incrimination. Witnesses have invoked it in order to avoid testifying against themselves, or to avoid being forced to produce documents that could be used against them.

NOT AN ADMISSION OF GUILT

Invoking the Fifth Amendment does not mean that a witness is guilty of any crime or even has anything to hide. Instead, it can reflect a witness’s concern that any testimony given would be interpreted in an unfavorable way, or that it could be used as evidence in a prosecution. Ironically, both Flynn and Trump pointed to invoking the Fifth Amendment as a sign of guilt during the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

IN FLYNN’S CASE

Flynn is refusing to provide documents to a Senate committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. A subpoena from the Senate intelligence committee requests a list of all contacts between Flynn and Russian officials over an 18-month period. In a letter to the committee Monday, lawyers for Flynn — who has not admitted to any wrongdoing — say he is looking to protect himself from an “escalating public frenzy” of “outrageous allegations.”

“The context in which the committee has called for General Flynn’s testimonial production of documents makes clear that he has more than a reasonable apprehension that any testimony he provides could be used against him,” the lawyers wrote.

A PROBLEM FOR INVESTIGATORS

The committee’s investigation could be hampered by Flynn’s decision to invoke the Fifth Amendment, but lawmakers could try to get some documents on their own or get information they want from another witness. The committee also could file a claim in federal court to try to force Flynn to testify and produce documents, but that could take months.

WHAT ABOUT IMMUNITY?

The committee could offer Flynn immunity in exchange for his testimony, but that could complicate any subsequent Justice Department criminal prosecution. The FBI would not be able to use the immunized testimony, or evidence derived from it, to build a case, though a witness can still be prosecuted for false statements or on the basis of other evidence of a crime. The committee would have to notify the attorney general before applying for an immunity court order.

PHOTO: AP

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19 thoughts on “Michael Flynn Evokes Fifth Amendment – What Does It Mean?

  1. Diane on said:

    @hufnpuf/cris. I knw you heard of the saying. U fake it til U make it. That’s what your girl Melania is doing. It’s obvious they have a very strange relationship. I never see him speak to her, he never really embrace her. He’s a fake ass deplorable person. Period.

    • Diane on said:

      SN. Nobody but u, care about what Clinton did over 20 yrs ago. Get over it. It’s about your fake prez and his estranged or strange marriage.

      • jhuf on said:

        Why not people like you care about what Trump said 20 years ago,
        Oh you’re an expert marriage counselor now? help her out please

    • specialt757 on said:

      I can almost believe that, you think they are that smart? Well I’m pretty sure someone else gave them this idea.

  2. specialt757 on said:

    According to his former boss the orange one, only guilty people evoke their 5th amendment rights. Clear case of “famous last words” lol
    They need to play that clip during the hearings from the start to the end of everyday while he’s there.

      • Diane on said:

        So, what’s your point, white boy?? The ppl your shoring do not have Russian ties. But your fake prez does. Show the video with the fake prez saying if you don’t have anything to hide u don’t need the 5th admemndment. How come your prez wife can’t stand his ass?? I’ll wait for your answer. Dum dum.

      • jhuf on said:

        No Russian ties have been established not even Mad Max Waters can state that, all though we know Hillary as Sec of State have Saudi and Chinese ties with her “pay to play” money scheme as far as Melania well shortly after the “swat seen round the world”
        There’s video of them holding hands so I don’t think the level of turmoil if any in their marriage has risen to the extreme as the night Bill publicly humiliated Hillary by coming clean about that Lewinsky pole waxing he got in the oval office

  3. Only a GUILTY person invokes the fifth amendment!!!!

    Flynn should be made to testify or sent to prison.
    The Idiot-in chief knew that Flynn was a POS when he was chosen for his position!!!!!!

      • Diane on said:

        @jhuf/cris. When Obama found out he was a crook he fired his dumbass. Your prez is still communicating with him and defending him. It’s bazaar.

      • specialt757 on said:

        @thedumbone (ah that would be you jose’),
        President Obama was smart enough to fire this fool once he found out who and what he was. Unlike your orange clown, who btw was warned by countless people not to hire him, he should go down with him. He had intelligent people telling him, Flynn was dirty, lie down with dogs get up with fleas. Trump could use a flea bath right about now.

      • jhuf on said:

        Obama fired Flynn for insubordination not spying same as Trump did with Sally Yates

  4. Diane on said:

    This is the same fool who said “you would only invoke the 5th amendment if you had something to hide”. Duh! He’s the same fart that was saying “lock her up”. His chickens are about to come home to roost. Karma is real.

    • jhuff on said:

      Now your right about that, He should have invoked the Hilary Clinton defense strategy “I can’t recall” “or what difference does it make”

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