RoveGate: What Statute Would Fitzgerald Use?

The Washington Post has an article today in which lawyers theorize about statutes Fitzgerald might use against Rove and company in the Valerie Plame leak.

While I agree that the federal statute prohibiting leaking a covert operative's identity may be a stretch in this case, I think the new statute bandied about in the article, embezzlement of public property, is an even greater stretch.

Fitzgerald seems to have plenty of choices with perjury, making a false statement to a federal official, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice. He may even have conspiracy to out a covert operative.

I doubt Fitzgerald is out searching for statutes to charge Administration officials using some novel theory. If he has the goods on the traditional ones, he'll indict. If he doesn't, he won't.

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    Re: RoveGate: What Statute Would Fitzgerald Use? (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:25 PM EST
    The Rove Scandal Document Center has a complete collection of the essential briefings, articles, timelines, statutes and other key PlameGate materials.

    Re: RoveGate: What Statute Would Fitzgerald Use? (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:25 PM EST
    You know, when I heard George Bush announce the other day, "I'm going to conduct a thorough investigation of the unacceptable response to Katrina," I thought, yeah, just like you did a thorough investigation of the Valerie Plame leak. As soon as you found out who was responsible your investigation ceased. Bush knows how these things work, time passes and people lose interest. Nobody is going to be indicted in the Rove Scandal, and nobody is going to be held responsible for the lives lost in New Orleans.

    Re: RoveGate: What Statute Would Fitzgerald Use? (none / 0) (#3)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:25 PM EST
    They’re selling postcards of the hanging They’re painting the passports brown The beauty parlor is filled with sailors The circus is in town Here comes the blind commissioner They’ve got him in a trance One hand is tied to the tight-rope walker The other is in his pants And the riot squad they’re restless They need somewhere to go As lady and I look out tonight From desolation row...
    It's NOT about the "team"... It IS about the "leader". ------ “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” —George W. Bush, May 24, 2005

    Re: RoveGate: What Statute Would Fitzgerald Use? (none / 0) (#4)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:26 PM EST
    Seems like Rove spin to prepare the American public for the impending round of presidential pardons. This is what Dean actually wrote on July 15, 2005:
    It was an eighteen count "kitchen sink" indictment; they threw everything they could think of at Randel. Most relevant for Karl Rove's situation, Court One of Randel's indictment alleged a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641. This is a law that prohibits theft (or conversion for one's own use) of government records and information for non-governmental purposes. But its broad language covers leaks, and it has now been used to cover just such actions. Randel, faced with a life sentence (actually, 500 years) if convicted on all counts, on the advice of his attorney, pleaded guilty to violating Section 641. On January 9, 2003, Randel was sentenced to a year in a federal prison, followed by three years probation. This sentence prompted the U.S. Attorney to boast that the conviction of Randel made a good example of how the Bush Administration would handle leakers.
    Even if there was no money transacted the document (memo) or information did have value and that is the standard. The statute in question says nothing about selling the valued info. The CIA are in a position to put a monetary value on the info if that is even needed; I imagine that they pay for similar info all the time.
    Victoria Toensing, a Washington lawyer who helped write the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, said prosecutors would "absolutely never" try to use the embezzlement statute in the Plame case. Dean "is trying to put the stepsister's foot in Cinderella's shoe," she said. "What was converted? . . . Where is the 'value' given to Karl Rove? . . . The story shouldn't even be written, because it's so off the wall to give it any credence."
    What was converted was the memo (or info). It was generated for one purpose, and converted to riun a CIA agents cover. Toensing's statement may be correct if the memo or info was created for the purpose of blowing Plames cover (which I believe was the case), but the statute is not limited to converting. Dean also points to several other laws that could be used against Rove, curiously none were discussed in the WAPO article. This piece makes everyone look like a bully against poor Karl Rove.

    Re: RoveGate: What Statute Would Fitzgerald Use? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:26 PM EST
    Elizabeth de la Vega, former federal prosecutor and Chief of the San Jose Branch of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California suggests that the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 is a perfectly usable one under which, based on what we know at present, a case could indeed be brought against a "senior administration official" and perhaps prosecuted successfully indeed. Her analysis is here

    Re: RoveGate: What Statute Would Fitzgerald Use? (none / 0) (#6)
    by Che's Lounge on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:28 PM EST
    All talk, no action.