TODAY   |  May 21, 2010

Salahis: White House drive-by a coincidence

Accused party crashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi say they were not trying to crash a second state dinner, claiming that they were headed to a restaurant near the White House. NBC’s Savannah Guthrie reports.

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>> crasher the salahis are back in the headlines after their limo was stopped near the white house on wednesday during the obama's second official state dinner . what were they doing there? nbc 's savannah guthrie has more.

>> reporter: good morning, meredith. i talk to the salahis yesterday at length about this. they say they were not trying to get into the white house or even near it for a publicity stunt . though they did have a camera crew with them at the time, they say this is all just a coincidence. just as the obamas were celebrating their second star-studded state dinner --

>> cheer.

>> reporter: -- the controversial couple that made the first one so notorious was just blocks away in a limo.

>> mr. and mr. salahi.

>> reporter: accused party crashers, the salahis, were stopped by the secret service right by the white house wednesday night when their limo driver was pull over for running a red light . after signaling that he wanted to drive into a restricted park that borders the white house called the ellipse. in an exclusive interview with nbc , tareq called it an unbelievable coincidence. michaele said, you get a very sick feeling in your stomach." their limo ran a light, was spotted trying to turn into the ellipse, then was stopped near the restaurant. the salahis were accompanied by a crew from "inside edition" which had spent the day filming with the couple called a lifestyle piece about them. driver got a ticket and after checking out their story, the secret service sent the salahis on their way. the couple told nbc news it was not a publicity stunt and they were not trying to cash the state dinner . the restaurant's owner says the event had been planned for weeks.

>> they were having a great time. they seem very, very happy. this is what was so great about them.

>> reporter: the salahis grabbed worldwide headlines last year when they managed to get into the white house state dinner for india without an invitation. the secret service later acknowledged its officers were at fault for admitting two people not on the guest list. but the salahis still insist they did not crash and in an interview this week with radar radaronline said someone should tell them they were sorry.

>> it would be nice if somebody apologized to us or if somebody -- just call it quits.

>> reporter: at the white house thursday, press secretary robert gribz was not biting.

>> it seems to me like their 15 minutes of fame were up almost six months ago.

>> reporter: one government official said it appeared the salahis may have been trying to pose in front of the white house during the state dinner . the salahis deny that. as to whether they will be charged in connection with the state dinner party crash last year, no decision has been made yet but a decision may be made in the next few weeks.

>> savannah guthrie , thanks very much. the salahis will be here for an exclusive live interview tuesday on "today."

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