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INDICTMENT WATCH

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By Michelle Malkin  •  October 28, 2005 09:01 AM

***scroll for updates throughout the day…223pm EDT liveblogging Fitzgerald news conference…240pm EDT Fitzgerald: “We have not made any allegation that Libby knowingly/intentionally outed a covert agent…300pm EDT “This indictment is not about the war. Not about the propriety of the war…” 310pm EDT “We’re not quite done, but I don’t want to add to a feverish pitch…” Video of press conference at The Political Teen…326pm EDT Joe Wilson’s lawyer reading a Me,Me,Me statement…video of Wilson’s lawyer at TPT***

Patrick Fitzgerald has just arrived at the US District courthouse in Washington, D.C.

Megyn Kendall, Fox News: “He looked like a man ready for business.” Unconfirmed report that one indictment has already been handed down.


NYT
: Libby, not Rove
WaPo: Libby, not Rove

Tom Maguire’s got a round-up.

912am EDT. Carl Cameron: Legal sources confirming that indictment will be handed up today on Scooter Libby….misled the grand jury and provided false statements specifically when he said he learned about Plame from the media, when his notes said he learned about her from VP Cheney…news conference anticipated at 12noon today…

Keep an eye on Fitzgerald’s website.

930am EDT. News conference at 2pm. Website info to be posted at noon.

Bulldogpundit at ABP, a former prosecutor, weighs in.

Check out this AFP report. The writer seems to be projecting a little, doncha think?: “Jittery.” “On edge.” “On tenterhooks.”

Some reminders from Rob Port.

1207pm EDT. Still nothing on Fitzgerald’s website…
1221pm EDT. Reports that Fitzgerald has left the courtroom…FNC cutting live to VP Cheney delivering remarks in Savannah, Ga…
1240pm EDT. I’ve got an important event to cover–daughter’s Halloween parade–so check in with Tom Maguire and The Corner as news breaks. Be back later.
220pm EDT. Ok, I’m back. Just tuned into press conference.
Here’s the Libby indictment in case you haven’t already seen it. Libby resigns. Clayton Cramer offers analysis here.

Liveblogging Fitzgerald press conference:

Fitzgerald recounting Libby’s testimony…Libby discussed information about Valerie Wilson/Plame a half a dozen times before conversation with Tim Russert.

At least four people within the govt told Libby about Wilson/Plame…in addition to hearing it, at least three times Libby discussed the information with govt, according to indictment…

Fitzgerald says Libby discussed the matter with Ari Fleischer on July 7 2003 (a Monday). He claimed to have first learned about it the following Thursday.

…He lied under oath and repeatedly.

It does show the world that this is a country that takes its laws seriously. Everyone bound by the law. Follow this process with American values and our dignity.

***
Questions:

Q: This began as a leak investigation, but no one is charged with leaking. Is investigation finished?

A: It’s not over, but I’ll tell you this…substantial bulk is completed…[but] ordinary to keep grand jury open to consider other matters, and that’s what we’ll do…

Fitz makes a baseball analogy to explain probe and unresolved questions. Obstruction of justice is like sand getting thrown in umpire’s eyes. Prevents us from making judgements we need to make. This is a very serious matter. The need to get to the bottom of what happened…is extremely important. We need to get to the truth…if what we allege in indictment is true, then what we have charged is a very serious crime.

Q: Any evidence that VP of U.S. encouraged him to leak it or encouraged him to lie?

A: I’m not making allegations about anyone not charged indictment. We make no allegation that VP engaged in any criminal act or any other people who discussed info with Libby…

Q: from Michael Isikoff…For all the sand thrown in our eyes, it seems you known the identity of the leaker. Why not revealed?

A: I can’t. The law is the law…we cannot discuss information not contained in indictment. …if you ask me any name, I’m not going to comment…I can tell you no one wants this over as quickly as I do…

Q: You said that damage was done to all of us. What?

A: For the people who work at the CIA, they have to expect that classified info will be protected…they have to expect something won’t be done to put them at risk by their own fellow employees…

Q: Re. Judy Miller. How important was her testimony?

A: No one wanted a dispute with the NY Times or anybody else. I was not looking for a First Amendment showdown…when we issued subpoenas, we thought long and hard before we did that…we scrubbed it thoroughly…

Q: You said Libby was first to leak Wilson/Plame info…are there definitely other leakers? Facilitators?

A: I can’t go beyond the four corners of the indictment…

Q: Did Libby know whether Valerie Wilson’s identity was covert?

A: …We have not made any allegation that Libby knowingly/intentionally outed a covert agent.

Q: Your critics are charging you are a partisan–

A: What party?

[Laughter]

One day I read I was a Republican hack. The next, I read I was a Democratic hack. I am not registered with either party, and I’ll leave it there.

…Our jobs in the criminal justice system are to make sure people tell the truth.

Q: Why are you confident that this is the right thing to do given that you are relying on people’s memories of things that occurred long ago?

A: Can’t go into trial evidence, but…he is presumed innocent and let’s let the trial proceed…

Q: Last-minute activity…FBI interviews…flurry of activity…were you just buttoning up the case? What are we supposed to read into that.

A: There was a flurry of attention…we wanted to get as much done…wouldn’t read anything into it…

300pm EDT

Q: Terry Moran…There are some who see this is vindication of their views on the war. Is it?

A: This indictment is not about the war. Not about the propriety of the war. This is stripped of that debate and focused on a narrow transaction…they will be frustrated and not good for process and fairness of trial.

Q: Did Bob Novak cooperate with the investigation?

A: Can’t comment.

310pm EDT

Q: Do you anticipate needing to empanel a new grand jury in order to wrap up?

A: Can’t comment. What I’m trying to convey: We’re not quite done, but I don’t want to add to a feverish pitch…

Q: Any possibility that anyone else will be charged?

A: Not going to comment…[laughter]…You’re getting cold not hot.

Q: What harm was there [to Valerie Wilson]?

A: On specifics, I won’t touch that with a ten-foot-pole…but at a time we need spy agencies, it compromises ability of government to recruit…that’s damage…but I’m not going to go beyond that…

We will not be arresting Mr. Libby…we’ll arrange for him to appear before assigned judge…whatever he tells us to do, we will do…

Q: Are you for or against a federal shield law?

A: I don’t think I should opine on that in my capacity…this was a situation where conversations between officials and reporters may have been a crime itself [transmitting classified info]…what people don’t appreciate is that we interviewed many officials before we went to reporters…

…There was no political interference in this case…

322pm EDT. End.

***

More blogger reax:

Pat Hynes at ABP:

The indictments do not play into Joe Wilson’s outsized ego as the “leaking the name of an undercover agent” isn’t covered under the indictment. Simply put, there was no crime there. Just a lot of leftist shouting and Joe Wilson’s sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth minutes of fame. He can go away now.

Lorie Byrd at Polipundit: “I wonder if the prosecutor will be as interested in Wilson’s motives to lie, as he was in Libby’s motives to tell reporters that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA.”

Paul Mirengoff’s assessment at Power Line: The indictment…

“…looks strong on its face, and the offenses alleged are serious ones. However, Libby is innocent until Fitzgerald proves otherwise.

The impression one gets from reading the indictment is that there was massive cooperation on the part of administration employees and officials. This looks like the anti-Watergate — a president ordering everyone to cooperate and the absence of any organized cover-up.

Unless Karl Rove is indicted later on, the political fall-out is likely to be almost non-existent.”

327pm EDT. Joe Wilson’s lawyer saying his wife and family are private. Didn’t choose to be in the public spotlight…

Really?

Evening update:

Austin Bay has some advice for the White House: Don’t defend Libby. Austin was impressed with Fitzgerald’s news conference and praises the prosecutor’s response on the national security impact of the case. Read the whole thing.

Kevin Aylward at Wizbang assesses the “worst week ever/best week ever.”

10/29 update: Jeff Goldstein also liveblogged events and interspersed excellent insta-analysis. Read his whole post here.

Libby’s lawyer outlines his defense here.

John in North Carolina is reminded of Hillary Clinton.

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