Federal Prosecutor Will Take the Fifth in Congressional Fast and Furious Probe
Posted Jan 20, 2012 9:11 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A federal prosecutor subpoenaed to testify in the congressional probe of Operation Fast and Furious will assert has Fifth Amendment rights and decline to testify.
Lawyers for Patrick Cunningham, chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona, notified the House Oversight Committee about the decision not to testify in a letter on Thursday, Fox News reports. Cunningham is represented by Williams & Connolly.
Fox News says the letter “stunned congressional staff.”
The Oversight Committee is investigating the federal gun-running probe called Fast and Furious in which agents allowed illegally purchased guns to cross the border. Two of the weapons were found at the scene of a December 2010 gun battle.
Lawyer Tobin Romero writes in the letter that Cunningham has apparently been blamed for giving inaccurate information to the Justice Department about Fast and Furious that DOJ officials relied on when preparing responses for Congress.
“The evidence … shows that my client is, in fact, innocent, but he has been ensnared by the unfortunate circumstances in which he now stands between two branches of government,” Romero writes. “I will therefore be instructing him to assert his constitutional privilege.”