06 October 2005


Karl’s back in the hot seat.

NY Times: Rove Summoned to Testify Again in
C.I.A. Leak Investigation

The special prosecutor in the C.I.A. leak case has
summoned Karl Rove, the senior White House adviser,
to return next week to testify to a federal grand jury
in a step that could mean there will be charges filed in
the case, lawyers in the case said today.

The prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, has held
discussions in recent days with lawyers for several
Bush administration officials suggesting that that he is
considering whether to charge them with a crime over
the disclosure of an intelligence operative's identity in
a 2003 newspaper column.

. . .

Robert D. Luskin, a lawyer for Mr. Rove, said Mr. Rove
has not received a target letter. Target letters are
sometimes used by prosecutors to advise people that
they are likely to be charged with a crime. Mr. Luskin
said today that "the special counsel has said that he
has made no charging decision."

Mr. Luskin has said he had offered for Mr. Rove to
return to the grand jury if needed to clarify any
questions that were raised by the testimony in July by
Matthew Cooper, a reporter for Time magazine, who
was questioned about a conversation that he with Mr.
Rove regarding Mr. Wilson's trip in July 2003.

"Karl's consistent position is that he will cooperate
any time, any place," Mr. Luskin said.

Several lawyers expressed surprise and concern over
the recent turn of events and are increasingly
convinced that Mr. Fitzgerald could charge someone
with a crime for discussing with journalists the
identity of an undercover officer of the Central
Intelligence Agency.

If you aren’t yet up to speed on the basics of this
investigation, check out this handy outline.

So what’s the big deal about Rove going back to testify?

Tim Grieve explains:

It's always risky to go before a grand jury. You can't
take your lawyer into the room with you, and you
don't know what the grand jury knows or doesn't
know. It's especially risky if you've already testified
once -- or, in the case of Rove, three times -- before:
The odds of introducing inconsistencies into your
testimony increase each time you give it. That's why,
the former prosecutor tells us, a defense lawyer
would advise his client to make a return appearance
before the grand jury only in extreme circumstances.

New York University law professor Stephen Gillers
offers a similar assessment to the Associated Press.
He calls Rove's return trip to the grand jury room an
“ominous sign" that suggests Fitzgerald "has learned
new information that is tightening the noose" around
Rove's neck. “It shows Fitzgerald now, perhaps after
[Judith] Miller's testimony, suspects Rove may be in
some way implicated in the revelation of Plame's
identity or that Fitzgerald is investigating various
people for obstruction of justice, false statements or
perjury. That is the menu of risk for Rove.”

“It's possible, of course, that Rove is returning to the
grand jury in the hope of saving someone other than
himself. Conversely, it's also possible that he's
testifying in the hope of implicating someone other
than himself.”

Before this latest news, Lawrence O’Donnell--the
journalist who broke the story that Rove leaked Plame’s
identity to Matthew Cooper--made this prediction:

[A]t least three high level Bush Administration
personnel indicted and possibly one or more very high
level unindicted co-conspirators.

Add now that Karl is scheduled for an encore before the
grand jury tomorrow, O'Donnell adds:

What this means is Rove's lawyer, Bob Luskin,
believes his client is definitely going to be indicted.

So, Luskin is sending Rove back into the grand jury to
try to get around the prosecutor and sell his innocence
directly to the grand jurors. Legal defense work
doesn't get more desperate than this. The prosecutor
is happy to let Rove go under oath again--without his
lawyer in the room--and try to wiggle out of the case.
The prosecutor has every right to expect that Rove's
final under-oath grilling will either add a count or two
to the indictment or force Rove to flip and testify
against someone else.

Murray Waas puts it in even sharper focus:

Rove will appear voluntarily, but during tomorrow's
session, Rove will be pressed about issues as to why
his accounts to the FBI and grand jury have changed,
or evolved, over time. He will also be questioned
regarding contacts with other senior administration
officials, such as then-deputy National Security
advisor Stephen J. Hadley and I. Lewis Libby, the
chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney in the
critical week before the publication of columnist
Robert Novak's column on July 14, 2003, which outed
Plame as a covert CIA operative.

Rove is also likely to be asked more detailed questions
about his conversation with Time magazine Matthew
Cooper on July 11, 2003, in which Cooper himself has
testified to the grand jury that Rove had told him that
Valerie Plame was employed by the CIA, and had
played a role in having her husband, ambassador
Joseph C. Wilson IV, selected to go on his
controversial fact-finding mission on behalf of the CIA.
Rove's previous grand jury appearances had occurred
prior to Cooper's own testimony to the grand jury.

Stay tuned. This party’s just getting started.