Libby's Fishing Expedition

Arianna has a great post today on the subpoena (pdf) Scooter Libby issued to New York Times reporter Judith Miller. Arianna notes,

For example, point #7 of the eight-point subpoena reveals that Libby's defense team is as curious as we are about exactly what happened in the Times newsroom after Miller received the exclusive National Intelligence scoop from Libby on July 8th. It requests:

"All documents, whenever prepared or received, reflecting or referring to any request or recommendation by you, prior to July 14, 2003, to Jill Abramson or any other employee or agent of The New York Times, to pursue a news story or investigation relating to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's trip to Niger or his claims concerning that trip."

The issue being, of course, did Judith Miller ever ask to write an article about what Libby told her? Arianna concludes (and I agree with her):

This subpoena confirms our expectation that Team Libby intends to attack Judy and what's left of her credibility by airing the Times' dirty laundry -- making it all the more important for the paper to stop operating behind a veil of secrecy when it comes to Miller. And the sooner the better.

Arianna also clears up another point that had me curious. Who is George Freeman? The subpoena asks for:

All documents reflecting or pertaining to your conversation with George Freeman concerning Valerie Plame, described in the Vanity Fair article published in March 2006 under the byline of Marie Benner, in which you are reported to have told Mr. Freeman, inter alia, that you talked to many people in government about Ms. Plame before and after Novak's article.

Arianna writes:

Freeman is the Times in-house counsel. By talking to Marie Brenner about conversations she had with him, has Judy muddied the waters of her attorney-client privilege?

While I doubt the Judge will require Judith Miller to provide documents regarding the conversation to Libby pursuant to the subpoena, I wonder if she disclosed these discussions to Patrick Fitzgerald. If not, it seems to me Patrick Fitzgerald might be interested in hearing about them. Rather than ask about her conversations with her lawyer, all he has to do is call her back to the grand jury and ask her whether the Vanity Fair article jogged her memory and does she now recall the names of others she talked to in government about Ms. Plame before and after Novak's article?

Of course, it's possible Miller has already given this information to Fitz and only Libby is in the dark. Which brings us back to the issue the Judge will have to decide in determining whether to quash the subpoena. Among the factors the Judge will consider:

  • Are the documents he seeks relevant and admissible at trial
  • Are the requests sufficiently specific and narrowly tailored or is Libby on a fishing expedition?
  • Would compliance be unduly oppressive or burdensome to Miller?

Libby has until April 28 to file his response and the hearing on all reporters' motions has been moved to May 16, 200 at 1:30 pm.

In other Libby news, Patrick Fitzgerald has asked to file a sealed affidavit in response to Libby lawyer Ted Well's sealed affidavit of April 12, referenced in Libby's April 12 Reply (pdf) regarding his Third Motion to Compel (Discussed at length here.) As I noted here in discussing Ari Fleischer, according to Footnote 4 on page 14, Well's affidavit discusses why the material Libby is requesting about Ari Fleischer is material to the defense.

The affidavits were filed under seal pursuant to the Court's Nov. 23 protective order. The court issued two protective orders that day, one applicable to classified information and one applicable to grand jury testimony and discovery documents with personal privacy information.

A hearing on the third motion to compel is set for May 5.

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  • Re: Libby's Fishing Expedition (none / 0) (#1)
    by squeaky on Thu Apr 20, 2006 at 08:06:12 PM EST
    The NYT really blew it by protecting Miller as they did. I think that there had to be some kind of love interest between Pinch and Judy. Most likely an old affair that bred an unflinching loyalty from Pinch. If not that then what? Something clouded his judgment with Judy. HuffPo also posted this about the NYT:
    According to Seelye, investors holding 28% of the company "withheld their votes for directors at the annual [shareholders'] meeting yesterday, registering their dissatisfaction with how the company is performing" (Morgan Stanley says it was 31%). By comparison, just 1% of shareholders withheld their votes last year.
    The writing is on the wall for Pinch to resign. He should have left with Judy as he was the one responsible for letting Little Miss Run Amok to, well run amok. Who would have guessed that Libby would do some good and force the NYT to air out regarding MIller's propaganda stint. I for one am really looking forward to what went on between Miller and the NYT regarding Plame et al, and renewing my subscription after Sulzberger resigns. The sooner the better. Lots of change is in the air these days and it is not just Spring.

    Re: Libby's Fishing Expedition (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Apr 20, 2006 at 09:49:22 PM EST
    I love your thinking on this Squeaky. Karl Rove's twisted little puppet show is only the symptom -- corporate media is the disease (and hopefully, blogs like this one are the cure). IMHO the biggest cancers afflicting the democracy we used to take for granted are the NYT, WaPo, Time, MSNBC and CNN. They're all attacked by left & right, allowing pond scum like Deborah Howell to claim that they "must be doing their jobs", but that's what makes them so dangerous. Coulter, Limbaugh and O'Reilly are an amusing freak show, but the 30 minute continuum of CNN Headline News, the headlines of The Times, the cover or TIME, and the carefully-fabricated spin that informs them are still construed as reality by far too many of the blithering idiots who manage to make their way to their neighborhood Diebold booths every 2 years. Rove, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush all need to come crashing down in Nixonian fashion, but it won't mean a thing unless Sulzberger, Keller, Howell, Woodward, VandeHei, Matthews, Russert, Miller, Downey, Bumiller, Steno Sue, and even Larry King are washed away in their wake. These worm-tongued bastards are the sinister power behind the throne.