Representative Bennie Thompson, who is the chairman of the January 6 committee in the US House of Representatives, said on Thursday that when a defendant uses their right to remain silent under the 5th Amendment, “in some instances, that says you are part and parcel guilty to what occurred.”
Thompson made the remarks to Rachel Maddow, who said it was “a fascinating pivot point in this investigation.” Thompson’s belief that a defendant’s use of their 5th Amendment rights infers guilt upon that person is not upheld by the Supreme Court.
In Griffin v. California in 1965, the Supreme Court upheld that if a defendant uses their 5th Amendment right to not incriminate themselves, neither the state, nor judge, may use the use of that right to tell the jury that silence is evidence of guilt.
Thompson, from his position as chairman of the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s special committee on the events of January 6th, has no basis to make this claim and this claim could indicate that the committee is already biased against those they have subpoenaed in their case. Pelosi alone appointed all members of the committee without input from the minority leader Kevin McCarthy.
Thompson made the remarks as the committee has issued subpoenas to more and more people who the committee believes is responsible for what they have termed an “insurrection” on January 6, when some Trump supporters left a rally at the ellipse in Washington, DC, and went to the Capitol.