Abrams Hopeful that Judith Miller Will Be Released Next Month, But Not So Sure

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By: Joe Strupp

Judith Miller of The New York Times, who’s been incarcerated for two and a half months for refusing to testify about her source in the Valerie Plame case, is supposed to get out of jail late next month at the latest.

But at least one of her lawyers is not certain it will happen.

Although Miller is due to be released when the federal grand jury closes its investigation of the case on Oct. 28, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald could seek an extension or ask that a new grand jury be convened.

“The prosecutor in open court talked about the possibility of convening a new grand jury,” Miller’s lawyer, Floyd Abrams, told E&P Monday, referring to the original sentencing hearing. When Miller was put behind bars on July 6, the sentence was for 18 months or until the grand jury ends its investigation.

“The sentence imposed by the judge would end on the 28th,” Abrams said. “We’re hoping that it will end then. I am just not going to go beyond that.”

Abrams would not comment on previous reports of plea negotiations being done on Miller’s behalf, but said he had not spoken with the prosecutor about Miller.

Miller is one of several reporters sought by Fitzgerald as part of his long-running investigation into who leaked the name of former CIA agent Valerie Plame, whose identity was first revealed by columnist Robert Novak in 2003. Miller, who never wrote a story about Plame’s identity, had been subpoenaed along with Time magazine writer Matthew Cooper last year.

Cooper avoided jail after revealing that his source was White House aide Karl Rove, a revelation that came about after Rove consented to be identified. Miller, however, has continued to decline to name her source or sources.

Abrams said he visited Miller last Friday at the Alexandria (Va.) Detention Center, where her visitors list has reportedly included the likes of current and former senators, Times executives and reporters, and embattled United Nations ambassador John R. Bolton.

“She’s about the same, It’s a difficult situation,” Abrams said of her condition. “She’s doing the best she can in a very difficult situation.”

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