taking the Fifth

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taking the Fifth

n. the refusal to testify on the ground that the testimony might tend to incriminate the witness in a crime, based on the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution which provides that "No person....shall be compelled to be a witness against himself," applied to state courts by the 14th Amendment. The term became famous during televised Senate committee hearings on organized crime in 1951, when a series of crime bosses "took the Fifth." (See: self-incrimination)

References in periodicals archive ?
Yet, he added that, should GM's lawyer's instruct their witnesses to not answer questions and plead the 5th amendment, then we may never know the full breadth of this cover-up.
Another, Brian White, Labour MP for Milton Keynes North East, begged: "Can I plead the 5th amendment?
It was also revealed that Lewinsky will plead the 5th amendment when she is interviewed for a second time by Paula Jones' lawyers about the alleged affair.