Monica Goodling, a senior Justice Department official involved in the firings of federal prosecutors, will refuse to answer questions at upcoming Senate hearings, citing Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, her lawyer said Monday.
A Justice Department official will refuse to answer questions during a Senate committee hearing on the firing of eight U.S. attorneys, citing her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself, her lawyer said Monday.
In a letter sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Monica Goodling's lawyer said she would not testify because senators have already decided that wrongdoing occurred.
A top aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales abruptly quit Friday, almost two weeks after telling Congress she would not testify about her role in the firings of federal prosecutors.
Monica M. Goodling, the Justice Department's liaison to the White House, gave no reason for her resignation. Since she was at the center of the firings, Goodling's refusal to testify has intensified questions about whether the U.S. attorney dismissals were proper and heightened the furor that threatens Gonzales' own job.
A House panel granted immunity Wednesday to a former Justice Department aide in its probe of the firings of eight U.S. attorneys, while senators authorized a subpoena for the White House's political director.
Monica Goodling, a former aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, had invoked her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and refused to testify before Congress about the firings.
The Justice Department released documents that show Goodling was involved in discussions about which prosecutors would be fired. Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Michigan, said the committee "exhausted all reasonable efforts to obtain Ms. Goodling's critical information" short of offering immunity.
The panel also voted to subpoena Goodling in connection with the probe.
The House Judiciary Committee voted 32-6 to authorize the grant of immunity to Goodling, who resigned earlier this month.