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Tuesday, 28 January, 2003, 10:37 GMT
Aretha 'faces house fire subpoena'
Aretha Franklin
Aretha was away touring when fire struck
Soul diva Aretha Franklin may be forced to testify over an arson attack on her home, according to reports.

Prosecutors are deciding whether to issue a subpoena against the star after unsuccessfully trying to interview her on at least three occasions, reported the Detroit Free Press.

But Franklin told the Detroit News it was unfair that she was being depicted as uncooperative.

Fire swept through her in $1.6m (980,000) home in the Bloomfield Township of Detroit, Michigan, in October last year while she was away touring.

Investigators discovered an accelerant had been used to start fires in three places.

Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin is best known for her 1967 hit song Respect

Assistant prosecutor James Halushka told the Detroit Free Press they may issue the investigative subpoena to "compel her to testify".

But Franklin's lawyer Elbert Hatchett insists she has done nothing wrong and they have answered all the investigators questions on her behalf.

Mr Halushka of the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office said Franklin could still opt to take the Fifth Amendment constitutional right against self-incrimination.

Disappointed

"I wouldn't expect her to do that because she is not a suspect," he said.

Franklin said she was "disappointed and puzzled" at the reaction of the prosecution.

"Issuing press releases for television news and daily newspapers to make me look unco-operative is simply not fair, true or necessary," she said.

But Mr Hatchett said if Franklin was subpoenaed he may advise her to take the Fifth.

"My client has been very cooperative and we've provided more information than we could reasonably be expected to," he told the Detroit News.

"I mean, who knows what they're trying to do? We have already answered a list of questions. But she's not going to sit for something like that. No."

See also:

29 Mar 01 | Music
14 Sep 98 | Entertainment
04 Jun 02 | UK
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