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 ?
Pleading the Fifth is an unusual but not unprecedented ploy to avoid complying with a court order in a civil lawsuit.
True, he was hardly likely to come out and say, 'Yes, we're inviting bids on eBay starting at x amount of pounds and pence',' but he did have the option of following his US lawyer gaffer, pleading the Fifth Amendment and saying nothing.
Asked about Wildstein -- who spent Thursday pleading the Fifth at a legislative hearing -- Christie expressed joy at having the opportunity to clear up the true parameters of their relationship.
However, Lerner said there may be some out there who may believe that in her pleading the fifth she may be guilty of wrongdoing.
Evidence was presented of commissioner calendar entries disappearing, multiple computers being destroyed through alleged electrical malfunctions and an oven fire, as well as interaction between Commissioner Bill Fleenor and a county employee that resulted in a civil settlement and Fleenor pleading the Fifth Amendment to avoid potential criminal prosecution.
And although he is pleading the fifth on his Sixways future, he says his days off away from the club as a legal eagle will help him deliver a verdict on his career prospects.
Gordon stood silent, like an American refusenik pleading the Fifth Amendment.
After also pleading the fifth amendment when asked for his favourite horse and jockey, Stanley starts to throw the mildest of tantrums.