Thursday, September 29, 2005

Judith Miller Released; Agrees to Testify

She will testify Scooter Libby was the source.

Very strange.

Michelle Malkin has lots of coverage here.

The NYT says this:

The Times' publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., said in a statement that the newspaper supported Ms. Miller's decision to testify, just as it backed her earlier refusal to cooperate. "Judy has been unwavering in her commitment to protect the confidentiality of her source," Mr. Sulzberger said. "We are very pleased that she has finally received a direct and uncoerced waiver, both by phone and in writing, releasing her from any claim of confidentiality and enabling her to testify."
Mr. Fitzgerald has for more than a year sought testimony from Ms. Miller about conversations she had with Mr. Libby. Her willingness to testify was based in part on personal assurances given by Mr. Libby earlier this month that he had no objection to her discussing their conversations with the grand jury, according to those officials briefed on the case.

Mr. Fitzgerald's investigation has centered on the question of whether anyone in the Bush administration illegally disclosed to the news media the identity of an undercover C.I.A. employee, Valerie Wilson, whose name was first published in July 2003 in a syndicated column by Robert F. Novak. A secondary focus has been whether government officials were truthful in their testimony to investigators and the grand jury.

Ms. Miller never wrote an article about Ms. Wilson. Mr. Fitzgerald has said that obtaining Ms. Miller's testimony was one of the last remaining objectives of his inquiry, and the deal with Ms. Miller suggests that the prosecutor may soon bring the long-running investigation to an end. It is unknown whether prosecutors will charge anyone in the Bush administration with wrongdoing.

The agreement that led to Ms. Miller's release followed intense negotiations between Ms. Miller; her lawyer, Robert Bennett; Mr. Libby's lawyer, Joseph Tate; and Mr. Fitzgerald. The talks began with a telephone call from Mr. Bennett to Mr. Tate in late August. Ms. Miller spoke with Mr. Libby by telephone earlier this month as their lawyers listened, according to people briefed on the matter. It was then that Mr. Libby told Ms. Miller that she had his personal and voluntary waiver.

But the discussions were at times strained, with Mr. Libby and Mr. Tate asserting that they communicated their voluntary waiver to Ms. Miller's lawyers more than year ago, according to those briefed on the case. Mr. Libby wrote to Ms. Miller in mid-September, saying that he believed her lawyers understood that his waiver was voluntary.

Others involved in the case have said that Ms. Miller did not understand that the waiver had been freely given and did not accept it until she had heard from him directly.



As usual, Arianna Huffington has the the best take on this development here.

The claim that Miller “has finally received a direct and uncoerced waiver” is laughable… and, indeed, has already been laughed at by 1) my increasingly frustrated sources within the Times 2) a chorus of voices in the blogosphere (see here, here, and here) and 3) (and much more significantly) Joseph Tate, Scooter Libby’s lawyer, who told the Washington Post yesterday that he informed Miller’s attorney, Floyd Abrams, a year ago that Libby’s waiver “was voluntary and that Miller was free to testify”.


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