One of the most cherished rights of all American citizens is the privilege to refuse to testify against oneself in a criminal matter, as guaranteed in the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution since 1791, and invoked in numberless television shows when the arresting officer reads the suspect his rights… “You have the right to remain silent.

It is so sacred an American idea that jurors are admonished by the judge not to infer guilt merely because the accused has “taken the Fifth.”

But the reality is often very different and jurors are free to ask themselves: “What is the defendant hiding?”

The American public may well be asking that very question about the former State Department IT specialist who also set up Hillary Clinton’s private email server in her home in Chappaqua, New York during her tenure as Secretary in the first Obama administration.

Bryan Pagliano, who invoked the privilege in September and declined to testify before the Senate Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees, even after being subpoenaed by the House Select Committee, is once again refusing to testify to the lawmakers.

Pagliano’s refusal is all the more baffling as he was granted immunity by the Justice Department in March to secure his cooperation with the FBI investigation into Clinton’s secret and unauthorized use of a private, unsecured server to transact State Department business when she was the nation’s top diplomat.

A subsequent request by the committee chairs was met with a curt response from Pagliano’s attorney, Mark MacDougall, a partner at a prestigious Washington D.C. law firm that has donated to the Clinton campaign.

“Whatever agreement Mr. Pagliano may have reached with the Department of Justice in no way constitutes a waiver of his Fifth Amendment rights.”

FBI Director James Comey has stated publicly that the investigation into the former Secretary’s handling of classified documents will take as long as necessary to be complete and thorough, and is not dependent on a political timeframe dictated by the presidential campaigns.

Pagliano was paid by Clinton on a private basis to set up and maintain her home-based server at the same time he was a paid federal employee at the State Department.

 

 

 

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