Lerner’s lawyer below says she did NOT waive her 5th Amendment rights. Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law says she did waive them.
Bottom line — on close questions — you steer your client to a SAFE path. That is the role of a lawyer – to protect your client. As a former criminal defense attorney, I know the SAFE path would have been to say ZERO before the Committee (except to assert the 5th) and then go outside and say whatever you want to the cameras. The same would have been achieved with the safe route (and more!) except she would not have this contempt issue. This was a big blunder. He is now scrambling with statements and letters and looking for lawyers to opine that Lerner did not waive her 5th Amendment right — but he never, never, never should have steered his client into this position in the first place. Why would you steer your client into this mess, into a gray area, whether in the end the client wins (and a court concludes she did not waive) or not (court concludes she waived her right)? Answer: a lawyer should never do this….BIG blunder.
STATEMENT BY WILLIAM W. TAYLOR, III
RE: HOUSE CONTEMPT VOTE
MAY 7, 2014
Today’s vote has nothing to do with the facts or the law. Its only purpose is to keep the baseless IRS “conspiracy” alive through the mid-term elections.
Ms. Lerner has not committed contempt of Congress. She did not waive her Fifth Amendment rights by proclaiming her innocence. We provided our legal analysis to the Committee and the House, and we received no response. It is unfortunate that the majority party in the House has put politics before a citizen’s constitutional rights.