"It would be a public relations nightmare for Goldman for him to take the Fifth," said John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School who frequently testifies before Congress on securities law. "Their style is to come out fighting and say they did nothing wrong, and taking the Fifth is seen as admission of guilt by the public."
Coffee and others said that Tourre is likely under pressure to speak up and defend himself and Goldman because the investment giant is covering his legal bills and because, with so much negative publicity surrounding him, the 31-year-old trader would be hard-pressed to find employment elsewhere.
"He's not very bankable right now," said white collar criminal defense lawyer Charles Miller. "I doubt if anybody would hire him, no matter what happens" at the hearing.
Tourre made headlines earlier this month after the SEC's lawsuit revealed an e-mail from him that seemed to indicate he didn't fully understand the complex deals he was making.
"More and more leverage in the system, The whole building is about to collapse anytime now...Only potential survivor, the fabulous Fab(rice Tourre) ... standing in the middle of all these complex, highly leveraged, exotic trades he created without necessarily understanding all of the implications of those monstruosities (sic)!!!" Tourre wrote to a friend in January 2007, according to the SEC's complaint.
The Senate subcommittee has released additional e-mails related to the deal Tourre worked on in recent days.
In an e-mail exchange between Tourre and Sparks in early 2007, the two employees wrote, "Gerstie and I are finishing up engagement letters with ACA and Paulson for the large RMBS COO ABACUS trade that will help Paulson short senior tranches." "Still reputational risk."
Levin said the documents show that Goldman knew that Paulson had designed the portfolio and bet against it.
Blankfein addressed the SEC lawsuit in his prepared testimony.
"While we strongly disagree with the SEC's complaint, I also recognize how such a complicated transaction may look to many people," he said. "To them, it is confirmation of how out of control they believe Wall Street has become, no matter how sophisticated the parties or what disclosures were made. We have to do a better job of striking the balance between what an informed client believes is important to his or her investing goals and what the public believes is overly complex and risky."
ABC News' Rich Blake and Huma Khan contributed to this report.