Does pleading the Fifth mean you're guilty?
via AP

Does pleading the Fifth mean you're guilty?

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President Trump once said mobsters plead the Fifth and said of Hillary's associates "if you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?" But his lawyer Michael Cohen plans to invoke his Fifth Amendment right in the lawsuit filed against the president by pornstar Stormy Daniels. Legal experts say pleading the Fifth is a totally legitimate legal tactic and says nothing about your guilt or innocence. Does pleading the Fifth mean you're guilty?

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#GuiltyPleadThe5th
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#5thIsJustSmart
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During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump criticized former Hillary Clinton staffers for invoking their Fifth Amendment rights in the case involving Clinton's private email server.

“The mob takes the Fifth,” Trump told a campaign crowd in Iowa. “If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?”

But now Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, says he will plead the Fifth in his case involving the president and Stormy Daniels

Cohen is trying to delay the California civil suit, which Daniels hopes will void a nondisclosure agreement in which she received $130,000 to keep quiet about her alleged affair with Trump. In the filing, Cohen said that if called as a witness, “I will assert my Fifth Amendment rights in connection with all proceedings in this case due to the ongoing criminal investigation by the FBI and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.”

Many argue if you have nothing to hide, why would you silence yourself? If you're truly innocent, it won't be a problem. Pleading the Fifth is for those who are guilty. Self-incrimination is only an issue if you've done something wrong.

But legal experts say pleading the Fifth is a totally legitimate and rational legal tactic, and says nothing about an individual's innocence or guilt.

“People who assert the Fifth may be innocent, but may fear that the government might still find a way to use their words against them,” explained Alex Whiting, a former federal prosecutor and a law professor at Harvard University. “Second, people who take the Fifth are often counseled by their lawyers to do so, because defense lawyers usually believe that it is a strategic mistake for the client to talk to the government.”

Whatever you think of Cohen or Trump, we shouldn't assume Cohen's invocation of his Fifth Amendment right makes him guilty.

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