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Rove legal team furious efforts to convince prosecutor { October 27 2005 }

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   http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/26/AR2005102600532_pf.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/26/AR2005102600532_pf.html

Grand Jury Hears Summary of Case On CIA Leak Probe
Decision on Charges May Come Friday

By Carol D. Leonnig and Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, October 27, 2005; A01



The prosecutor in the CIA leak investigation presented a summary of his case to a federal grand jury yesterday and is expected to announce a final decision on charges in the two-year-long probe tomorrow, according to people familiar with the case.

Even as Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald wrapped up his case, the legal team of White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove has been engaged in a furious effort to convince the prosecutor that Rove did not commit perjury during the course of the investigation, according to people close to the aide. The sources, who indicated that the effort intensified in recent weeks, said Rove still did not know last night whether he would be indicted.

Fitzgerald is completing his probe of whether senior administration officials broke the law by disclosing the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame to the media in the summer of 2003 to discredit her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, an administration critic. The grand jury's term will expire Friday.

But after grand jurors left the federal courthouse before noon yesterday, it was unclear whether Fitzgerald had spelled out the criminal charges he might ask them to consider, or whether he had asked them to vote on any proposed indictments. Fitzgerald's legal team did not present the results of a grand jury vote to the court yesterday, which he is required to do within days of such a vote.

Yesterday's three-hour grand jury session came after agents and prosecutors this week conducted last-minute interviews with Adam Levine, a member of the White House communications team at the time of the leak, about his conversations with Rove, and with Plame's neighbors in the District.

Should he need more time to finish the investigation, Fitzgerald could seek to empanel a new group of grand jurors to consider the case. But sources familiar with the prosecutor's work said he has indicated he is eager to avoid that route. The term of the current grand jury has been extended once and cannot be lengthened again, according to federal rules.

The down-to-the-wire moves in Fitzgerald's investigation have made for a harrowing week at the White House, where officials are girding for at least one senior administration official to be indicted, according to aides.

Most concern is focused on Rove and Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Both had testified that they talked with reporters about Plame in the summer of 2003, according to lawyers familiar with their accounts, but both said they did not discuss her by name or disclose her covert status.

Yesterday was another surreal day at the White House, according to aides, with staff members wondering about who might be indicted. Rove and Libby continued to sit in on high-level meetings.

"We certainly are following developments in the news, but everybody's got a lot of work to do," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters.

A new USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup poll reminded the White House of the damage the CIA leak case has already inflicted: Eight in ten people surveyed said that aides had either broken the law or acted unethically.

As the rest of Washington waited, President Bush tried to shift national attention back to the economy. In a speech to the Economic Club of Washington, he touted the "resilient and strong" economy and asserted it showed that his "pro-growth policies have worked."

Fitzgerald's investigation has centered on whether administration officials knowingly revealed Plame's identity in July 2003 because of Wilson's public criticism.

On July 6, 2003, Wilson accused the administration in The Washington Post and the New York Times of using flawed intelligence to justify the war with Iraq, and said his CIA-sponsored mission to Niger concluded months earlier that there was little support for an intelligence report that Iraq was trying to buy nuclear material there.

Eight days later, columnist Robert D. Novak revealed Plame's name and her status as a CIA operative, attributing the information to two anonymous senior administration officials.

People close to Rove said he fears a perjury charge because he did not initially tell the grand jury that he had spoken with Time reporter Matthew Cooper about Plame before her name was publicly disclosed. Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, declined to comment yesterday.

A lawyer other than Luskin who is familiar with Rove's legal strategy said the aide testified that he believed he was trading on publicly available information in discussing Plame with reporters.

In his fourth and final grand jury appearance, this lawyer said, Rove was asked why he did not mention his discussion of Plame with Cooper. Rove has told people he simply had forgotten the conversation.

Rove also testified that he may have learned about Plame from Libby, according to a person familiar with Rove's testimony. Some saw this as an effort to show Rove had no reason to believe the information about Plame was classified.

There were signs that Fitzgerald was still trying to piece together the Rove case as recently as Tuesday. Peter Zeidenberg, a Justice Department prosecutor working with Fitzgerald, called Levine that day to discuss a conversation Levine had with Rove on July 11, 2003, the day Rove spoke with Cooper, according to Daniel J. French, Levine's lawyer.

Levine, part of the White House communications team at the time of the leak, "was contacted as a witness," French said. Levine told Zeidenberg that he and Rove did not discuss Cooper in that conversation, according to a person familiar with the discussion.

As jurors left the courthouse yesterday, Fitzgerald exited the sealed grand jury room of the courthouse through a back elevator to avoid reporters waiting outside. He then met with Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan in Hogan's private chambers for about 45 minutes. Hogan confirmed the two had met yesterday, but declined to discuss the substance of their conversation.

One legal source said the two have met regularly to discuss practical matters about the case, which now include intense media interest and how to avoid improper leaks about secret grand jury matters.

The grand jury, a group of onetime strangers from across the District, has spent two days a week for nearly 24 months in the cloistered, guarded room on the third floor of the U.S. District Courthouse. They have sifted through the day planners of White House aides and listened intently as the prosecutor grilled West Wing officials and reporters who relied on them as confidential sources. They are paid $40 a day, plus $4 for transportation.

Now they might be called upon to make decisions that could deal a crippling blow to the Bush White House and put top administration officials on trial.

There were 23 members at the start, committed for 18 months. Their term was extended in May for six months. At least six original jurors have been excused because of hardships their service created. Some were replaced with alternates.

Like the jury's forewoman, the majority are African American women who appear to be middle-age or older. The jury includes at least two black men, two older white women and three white men. One trim, agile retiree with white hair often entered the grand jury room with his bicycle helmet in hand.

Lori Shaw, a criminal law professor at the University of Dayton and an expert on federal grand juries, said the amount of time this jury has put in likely means it is well-versed and invested in the case.

"You have to consider: They are not rookies at this anymore," Shaw said. "I have a feeling that by now this grand jury has a good idea of what crime, if any, occurred."

Staff writers Christopher Lee, Peter Baker and Howard Kurtz contributed to this report.

2005 The Washington Post Company



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Agee calls leak dirty politics
Agee discusses leak of name
Agee sees whitehouse getting blowback
Another time reported testomy may help rove { December 12 2005 }
Appeals court upheld ruling against reporters over leak { February 15 2005 }
Ashcroft recused self from investigation { December 31 2003 }
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Bush admits cia leak came from whitehouse { July 12 2007 }
Bush aide testifies leak probe { February 9 2004 }
Bush and lawyer huddle on CIA leak { June 2 2004 }
Bush commuted libby prison sentence { June 2007 }
Bush defends declassification of prewar report
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Bush toughens support of leak investigation { October 7 2003 }
Cheney advisor resigns after indictment
Cheney aide also linked to cia leak { July 18 2005 }
Cheney aide says bush approved leak { April 6 2006 }
Cheney and rove lose importance in whitehouse
Cheney may use executive privilege { October 29 2005 }
Cheney reportedly interviewed in leak of CIA name { June 5 2004 }
Cheney source of officer name to libby { October 25 2005 }
Cheney staff focus of probe { February 17 2004 }
Cheney to be defense witness in cia leak case
Cia blocks varerie plame book
Cia name leak from whitehouse { September 30 2003 }
Cia probe widens
Colleague says armitage was cia leak source { August 29 2006 }
Did rove blow spooks cover { September 16 2003 }
Doj investigation whitehouse reveal cia agent
Fitzgerald calls new grand jury after woodward testimony { November 19 2005 }
Judith freed to testify about source lewis libby { September 30 2005 }
Judith miller cant remember where name came from { October 16 2005 }
Judith miller retires from the times
Karl rove testifies before federal grand jury on leak
Last day of probe keeping whitehouse jittery
Leaders express outrage for libby commuted sentence { July 3 2007 }
Leaker said wilson wife fair game { September 28 2003 }
Libby charges dont address cia leak
Libby lawyer told miller to clear scooter libby { October 16 2005 }
Libby may have hidden cheney role { November 13 2005 }
Libby perjury worse than lewinsky perjury
Libby retains 5th amendment by avoiding pardon { July 3 2007 }
Libby says white house superiors approved leak { February 9 2006 }
Libby scapegoated to protect karl rove { January 24 2007 }
Libby trial delayed right after 2006 elections { February 4 2006 }
Matthew cooper testify after rove lawyers maneuvering { July 7 2005 }
Mcclellan cant clear cheney in cia leak case { June 20 2008 }
Memo central to leak delivered to powell { July 21 2005 }
Nbc russert rebuts libby testimony { February 7 2007 }
New tork times reporter jailed for concealing leak { July 7 2005 }
New york times reporter given top security clearance { October 16 2005 }
Novak claims book was source of leak { August 2 2005 }
Novak points to cia { October 1 2003 }
Novak pokes fun at cia leak
Novak wont give up source { October 1 2003 }
Pat buchanan says neocons behind whole thing { July 15 2005 }
Powell gives testimony to grand jury
Press secretary says bush behind leak { October 2007 }
Prison fines await those leak cia identities
Probe exposing cia identity { September 29 2003 }
Prosecutor investigating coverup of leak { July 27 2005 }
Prosecutors question Bush on CIA name leak { June 25 2004 }
Reporter held in contempt
Rove and libby worked damage control { July 22 2005 }
Rove blamed libby to jury { October 20 2005 }
Rove called to testify 5th time { April 27 2006 }
Rove confirmed plame indirectly lawyer says { July 15 2005 }
Rove emailed security official about matthew cooper { July 11 2003 }
Rove fight escalates { July 15 2005 }
Rove legal team furious efforts to convince prosecutor { October 27 2005 }
Rove mclellan interviewed cia probe { October 23 2003 }
Rove told cooper wilsons wife works for agency { July 11 2005 }
Rove wont face indictment in cia leak case { June 13 2006 }
Story from two senior whitehouse employees
Time magazine talked to rove for plane story
Time reporters in contempt of court for cia leak
Time reporters says he first learned of plame from rove { July 18 2005 }
Valerie plame does vanity fair spread { December 3 2003 }
Whitehouse press secretary contradicts libby { December 2007 }
Wilson suggested rove leaked { September 30 2003 }
Woodward attacked by liberals { November 18 2005 }
Woodward eyed after calling fitzgerald overzealous { November 17 2005 }
Woodward was told of plame before leak { November 16 2005 }

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