A senior official with the U.S. Department of Justice involved in the growing “Fast and Furious” federal gun-trafficking scandal told Congress that he would be invoking his right — protected by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — not to testify because it might incriminate him.
The chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona, Patrick Cunningham (photo), was issued a subpoena last week by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He was supposed to offer insight into his role in the Obama administration program that sent thousands of high-powered weapons — many of which have been used in murders, including several implicated in the slayings of federal agents — to violent drug cartels in Mexico.
But while Cunningham maintains his innocence, he will not be cooperating with the congressional investigation, his lawyer said in a letter to Congress. "As a professional courtesy, and to avoid needless preparation by the Committee and its staff for a deposition next week, I am writing to advise you that my client is going to assert his constitutional privilege not to be compelled to be a witness against himself," wrote Cunningham’s attorney in the response.
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Photo of Patrick Cunningham: AP Images