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Hullabaloo


Friday, September 30, 2005

 
Judith Iscariot

Murray Waas reports on why Miller's testimony is important to Fitzgerald:

What is perhaps left out of news accounts tonight is that Miller's testimony is central to whether special Fitzgerald brings criminal charges against I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Cheney. Libby was unwavering in telling prosecutors and the FBI that he knew nothing of Plame's covert work for the CIA, even though he spoke to Miller about at length about her and her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. Whether that account is truthful is something only both Miller and Libby know. Miller's testimony on that issue will be central to any final disposition of the criminal probe, sources close to the investigation have told me for some time now.


Just in case Judy didn't know what Libby would like her to say to the Grand Jury, the Washington Post helpfully printed it up for her:

According to a source familiar with Libby's account of his conversations with Miller in July 2003, the subject of Wilson's wife came up on two occasions. In the first, on July 8, Miller met with Libby to interview him about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the source said.

At that time, she asked him why Wilson had been chosen to investigate questions Cheney had posed about whether Iraq tried to buy uranium in the African nation of Niger. Libby, the source familiar with his account said, told her that the White House was working with the CIA to find out more about Wilson's trip and how he was selected.

Libby told Miller he heard that Wilson's wife had something to do with sending him but he did not know who she was or where she worked, the source said.

Libby had a second conversation with Miller on July 12 or July 13, the source said, in which he said he had learned that Wilson's wife had a role in sending him on the trip and that she worked for the CIA. Libby never knew Plame's name or that she was a covert operative, the source said.


Miller is a made man. Why would Fitzgerald think she would tell the truth when it's clear that Libby wants her to testify on his behalf?

Because somebody else has already spilled the beans. How else did Judy come to Fitzgerald's attention in the first place?

Asked why prosecutors sought Miller's testimony when she never wrote a story about Plame, Times attorney Floyd Abrams said, "We don't know, but most likely somebody testified to the grand jury that he or she had spoken to Judy."


Neither Miller or Libby can be absolutely sure what that person told the Grand Jury because neither of them can be absolutely sure that the other one didn't tell someone about their conversation. Who knows how many people could have testified before the grand jury about Miller and Libby?

One thing is certainly clear. Fitzgerald doesn't trust Judy as far as he can throw her. Here's what he said about her in court when she was asking for home detention:

The question is whether Miller would defy a final court order and commit the crime of contempt and thereby obstruct an investigation of persons who may have compromised classified information.


She has no idea what he knows. She would be an idiot to lie.

One other thing to keep in mind. For those of us who are looking for him to broaden the scope of this investigation and look into a larger set of issues surrounding the Iraq lies, if Fitzgerald hands down indictments it is only a first step. Indictments tend to focus the mind, I would think. Perhaps some people will have more to say when they are faced with serious legal trouble.

And it would certainly explain the dismal political performance of the white house lately if high level advisors have been too busy negotiating plea bargains for themselves to keep a close eye on Junior.

update: Via Anonymous Liberal I see that there is some dispute emerging about this waiver business that I hadn't heard before:

Also of note, is this conflicting account of the original waiver given by Libby to Miller over a year ago. First, from the Post.

[J]oseph Tate, an attorney for Libby, said yesterday that he told Miller's attorney, Floyd Abrams, a year ago that Libby's waiver was voluntary and that Miller was free to testify. He said last night that he was contacted by Bennett several weeks ago, and was surprised to learn that Miller had not accepted that representation as authorization to speak with prosecutors. "We told her lawyers it was not coerced," Tate said. "We are surprised to learn we had anything to do with her incarceration."


But we get this from the New York Times:

On Thursday, Mr. Abrams wrote to Mr. Tate disputing parts of Mr. Tate's account. His letter said although Mr. Tate had said the waiver was voluntary, Mr. Tate had also said any waiver sought as a condition of employment was inherently coercive.



If Abrams is telling the truth, then Libby apparently did not give Miller the kind of waiver that she required. If Tate told Abrams that the waiver Libby signed was "inherently coercive," then Abrams and Miller were correct to interpret that conversation as not amounting to a free and voluntary waiver. How else were they supposed to interpret such a comment?


Libby's lawyers probably should shut their mouths.






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