The civil side of the Pilot Flying J fiasco is moving quickly. As to the criminal side, it’s anyone’s guess.
A federal grand jury reportedly has been convened to investigate the customer rebate fraud scam at the truck-stop company run by Browns owner Jimmy Haslam. According to FOX 8 in Cleveland, Haslam has yet to receive a subpoena to testify.
If it happens, Haslam will face a difficult choice. Will he reiterate the Sgt. Schulz routine, or will he invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination?
He could try to both, artfully discerning in the moment which questions can be answered with an “I didn’t know” and which questions should be met by reading the statement crafted by his lawyer and committed to memory. Something like: “On the advice of counsel and in light of all relevant facts and circumstances, I am choosing to invoke my right not to testify on this point but I nevertheless reiterate my position that I knew nothing about any potentially illegal activities.”
Five Pilot Flying J executives have pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges. At least one acknowledged in his formal agreement that “senior management” was aware of the situation.