Michaele Salahi, Tareq Salahi
The Salahis' invitation to Capitol Hill is in the mail.
Tareq and Michaele Salahi — the Virginia couple that made it past security and into last month's White House state dinner uninvited — have been ordered to testify Jan. 20 before the Congressional committee that oversees the Secret Service, The New York Times reports. The Salahis, who are also under consideration for Bravo's upcoming new series Real Housewives of D.C., were subpoenaed by the panel less than a week after declining to testify.
Salahis: We didn't crash the White House dinner
The couple plan to invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination before the House Homeland Security Committee, their lawyer said in a letter to committee staff members Tuesday.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., told the Times he expects to know by Jan. 20 whether the couple will face criminal charges. Thompson, the committee's chairman, also told the newspaper that the basis on which they refuse to testify is "irrelevant."
When the couple declined to testify last week, Thompson issued a statement emphasizing the significance of their testimony. "The Salahis' testimony is important to explain how a couple circumvented layers of security at the White House on the evening of a state dinner without causing alarm," he said.
Secret Service apologizes for breach by White House party crashers
At the time, the Salahis also issued a statement to explain their reasoning, claiming they had fully cooperated with lawmakers: "The Salahis believe that, having provided all relevant information ... there is nothing further that they can do to assist Congress in its inquiry regarding White House protocol and certain security procedures."
The Salahis said on the Today show last week that they had submitted evidence to exonerate them of any wrongdoing. The next day, an e-mail from Pentagon official Michele Jones to the couple showed they were informed that they had not made the guest list. The Salahis later said they did not receive the e-mail in time because of a dead cell phone.
The Salahis' attorney refused to comment on the matter and a rep for the pair could not be reached.