Former Rove aide pleads the Fifth on White House contacts with convicted lobbyist Abramoff
Michael Roston
Published: Tuesday May 22, 2007
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Susan Ralston, the former executive assistant to top White House adviser Karl Rove, invoked her rights against self-incrimination while she was being asked to answer questions by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Committee's Chairman, Rep. Henry Waxman, announced in a memo Tuesday. The deposition for which she sat concerned contacts between convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and Rove, as well as the White House more broadly.

"The subjects this morning that she will be unable to testify to...are the subjects of the relationship between Jack Abramoff and his associates and White House officials, including Ms. Ralston, and the subject of the use by White House officials of political e-mail accounts at the RNC," Ralston's lawyer, Bradford Berenson said, during the May 10 deposition. "She has material, useful information about both of those subjects."

According to Waxman's memo, which was sent to Oversight Committee members, Ralston is seeking immunity from prosecution.

"She is more than willing to provide it to the committee. However, she will, as we have previously discussed, require a grant of immunity before she is comfortable going forward," Berenson also said in the deposition.

A spokeswoman for the Committee would not say whether or not immunity would be granted to the former Rove aide.

"I think we're letting the memo speak for itself," she told RAW STORY when asked if the Committee would grant immunity, or had discussed it with the White House.

Ralston served as executive assistant in the White House to Karl Rove until September 2006. From 1998 to 2001, she had also worked for Abramoff, who was convicted of a variety of crimes in federal court in January 2006. The Committee noted that Ralston "appeared voluntarily and testified on a number of subjects unrelated to the Abramoff matter," in the May 10 deposition.

The full memo can be accessed at this link.