Invoking the Fifth Amendment to keep from answering a question in a legal proceedings is the right of every American. But when people use that right, it sometimes raises more questions.
Now, Steve Fishman, the lawyer for Detroit City Councilman Gabe Leland, wants to explain why his client repeatedly invoked the Fifth when asked during a deposition last month if he extorted cash from businessmen Robert Carmack, reports Robert Snell of The Detroit News.
But Fishman wants to tell U.S. District Judge Matthew Leitman in private because he doesn't trust another lawyer representing businessman Carmack, who is suing Leland in federal court, Snell reports, adding:
The offer is the latest development in a lawsuit that appears to help explain why Leland was included in a list of public corruption targets named in a sealed FBI wiretap affidavit obtained first by The Detroit News in December. The city councilman's lawyer suggested in a court filing Sunday that Leland kept silent so his responses would not be used in a federal criminal investigation, but the exact reason is unclear.
In the civil lawsuit, Carmack says he wore a secret recording device for the FBI after Leland tried to extort $15,000 from him.
Fishman explains in a court filing on Sunday why he's concerned about the other lawyer in the case:
"By the time the ink was dry, the transcript and video of the deposition had been released by plaintiff’s counsel to both the print and television media. Defense counsel has every reason to think that the same thing would happen in this instance."