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Former White House social secretary says crasher scandal 'in the past'

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Desiree Rogers told CNN's Don Lemon that she has put the state dinner crasher scandal behind her
  • Rogers has a new job as CEO of a Chicago publishing company
  • She has "no comment" about new TV show featuring Michaele Salahi
  • Washington police have opened an investigation into whether Michaele and Tareq Salahi received a police escort

(CNN) -- Former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers told CNN's Don Lemon on Saturday that she is excited about her new position as chief executive officer of a publishing company and that she has put the state dinner crasher scandal behind her.

Rogers declined to comment about the Salahis, the couple whose party-crashing ways may have cost her the White House position. Nor did she want to discuss a reality show that features the Salahis and that recently showed footage of the couple with a police escort.

Those images have sparked an investigation by police in Washington D.C., an official said Saturday.

In the interview, Rogers said told CNN she is focused on her strategy for Johnson Publishing Company, Inc, an African-American owned and operated publishing company in Chicago whose portfolio includes Ebony and Jet magazines.

She said she plans to focus on content and on expanding digital platforms for the publications.

Rogers added the Obamas are still close friends of hers and that she was honored to have served them at the White House.

In November 2009, Michaele and Tareq Salahi managed to attend the Obama administration's first state dinner even though the U.S. Secret Service said the couple did not have an invitation.

Their attendance sparked an uproar over security that some believe forced Rogers to resign from the White house after just 14 months as social secretary.

Rogers told Lemon the incident with the Salahis is "in the past."

The Salahis, however, continue to enmesh themselves in controversy. Michaele Salahi is appearing in the reality television show "The Real Housewives of D.C." An episode aired this week featuring footage of her and her husband's arrival at a party in 2009 with what appears to be a police escort.

Police in Washington D.C. say they have opened an investigation into whether the reality stars, in fact, got a police escort for their limousine.

Lt. Nicholas Breul, a police spokesman, said Saturday that a reporter had alerted the department to the episode. He added that the chief has asked his department to investigate whether there was an escort and, if so, to determine the number of the car and to gather information on the officer involved.

Breul said the department typically provides escorts for the U.S. president and other dignitaries, but not for private citizens.

A publicist for Half Yard Productions, which films "The Real Housewives of D.C." told CNN Saturday that the company "filmed the Salahis last year arriving with a police escort, but have no idea how they secured one."

The escort was filmed in October 2009, publicist Bronagh Hanley said. That would have been several weeks before the Salahis crashed the White House dinner.

CNN's David de Sola contributed to this report.

 
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