Plame Case, All Over But the Jailing?

By: E&P Staff It?s all over but the ? jailing? A report today from Murray Waas, a longtime investigative reporter, suggests that Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor investigating the Valerie Plame/CIA leak affair, recently informed a federal court that his investigation has been ?for all practical purposes complete? since October 2004.

In this account, all he?s waiting for is the coerced testimony of New York Times reporter Judith Miller and Time magazine?s Matthew Cooper. They have been under contempt charges for months and may be sent to jail soon if they continue to refuse to testify before a federal grand jury.

Waas, writing at The American Prospect's Web site, said he found Fitzgerald?s statement in court papers the prosecutor filed on March 22, but which went unreported.

Fitzgerald made the disclosure ?in explaining why he considered the testimony? of the two reporters so vital, Waas wrote. ?Fitzgerald implied in the court papers that if he were able to obtain the testimony of both reporters, he would most likely be able to close out his investigation once and for all,? Waas explained. ?Most outside legal observers, and government officials with knowledge of the probe, as well as private attorneys representing individuals who are appearing before Fitzgerald?s grand jury interviewed for this article, say the fact that the prosecutor has considered his investigation virtually complete for several months indicates that he most likely will not bring any criminal charges.

?But Fitzgerald himself did not hint in the court papers as to how he might further proceed. And because Fitzgerald has so emphatically emphasized that the testimony of the two reporters is so crucial to his investigation, he may believe that they have corroborating evidence of wrongdoing by one or more persons under investigation that would allow him to finally charge someone.?

And what of columnist Robert Novak, who first leaked the name of CIA operative Plame, purportedly getting the information from a White House source? Floyd Abrams, the First Amendment attorney who is representing The New York Times and Time in the Plame case, told Waas: ?In his motion, [Fitzgerald] represented that he is finished, except for the testimony of my clients. I don?t think he could say to the court that he is at that point unless he has already heard from Novak.?


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