Cartoon by Randy Bish of The Pittsburg Tribune-Review published on 10 March 2010.
This political cartoon concerns a local corruption scandal in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Bill Deweese, a member of this governing body, was questioned by a judge in connection with a corruption trial of a former legislative colleague. During this questioning, Mr. Deweese took the Fifth (can also say plead the Fifth).
This is a common American expression that refers to the Fifth Amendment of the US Bill of Rights which protects against abuse of government authority in a legal procedure. One part of this amendment states that no person shall be compelled to witness against himself. It protects against self-incrimination. During any sort of legal proceedings, if any person feels that the testimony he is about to give could cause him or her personal trouble with the law, he simply has to say “I plead the Fifth” or “I take the Fifth.”
According to the cartoon, Deweese took the Fifth, to cover his keister (sometimes written keester as it is pronounced). Your keister is an American slang term for your buttocks; that part of the body you sit on! The slang term probably dates back to the first part of the 20th century and is believed to come from a Yiddish word for a box or chest. To cover your keister means to take precautions to protect yourself so that you aren’t accused or punished for something.
Other variations of this expression are to cover your butt and to cover your ass. The word “ass” is considered to be impolite by most people so you might hear someone simply say in English “CYA!”
Well, I’m finished writing this blog post so I can now go sit on my keister in front of the television. Bye!
Pleading the Fifth (Wikipedia)