Rove Facing Charges in Plame Case
After years of investigation, it is starting to look like Karl Rove may actually be charged with something in the Valerie Plame CIA leak case.
Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor in the C.I.A. leak case, is expected to decide in the next two to three weeks whether to bring perjury charges against Karl Rove, the powerful adviser to President Bush, lawyers involved in the case said Thursday. With the completion of Mr. Rove’s fifth appearance before the grand jury on Wednesday, Mr. Fitzgerald is now believed to have assembled all of the facts necessary to determine whether to seek an indictment of Mr. Rove or drop the case.
Mr. Fitzgerald must specifically decide whether Mr. Rove misled the grand jury in testimony he gave in 2004 about his conversations with reporters about Valerie Wilson, the intelligence officer at the heart of the C.I.A. leak case. In his February 2004 testimony, Mr. Rove acknowledged talking to the columnist Robert D. Novak about Ms. Wilson, but he did not tell the grand jury about a second conversation he had about her with Matthew Cooper, a Time magazine reporter. Mr. Novak revealed her name and C.I.A. employment in a column on July 14, 2003.
Mr. Rove later voluntarily told the grand jury about the conversation with Mr. Cooper, and said that he had forgotten about it in the rush of his daily business. But Mr. Fitzgerald has long been skeptical of Mr. Rove’s account of his forgetfulness, lawyers in the case say. On Wednesday Mr. Fitzgerald questioned Mr. Rove about how he came to remember his conversation with Mr. Cooper.
Robert D. Luskin, Mr. Rove’s lawyer, issued a statement on Wednesday declaring that Mr. Rove had testified “voluntarily and unconditionally” about a matter that had arisen since Mr. Rove’s last grand jury appearance, in October 2005. Mr. Luskin was evidently referring to the testimony of Viveca Novak, a former reporter at Time magazine, who has said that she told Mr. Rove’s lawyer in early 2004 that she believed that Mr. Rove had been a source for Mr. Cooper.
Mr. Rove admitted from the outset to investigators that he spoke to Mr. Novak on July 9, 2003, about Ms. Wilson. It was in that conversation that Mr. Rove first learned the name of Ms. Wilson from Mr. Novak, lawyers in the case said.
The irony is that the investigation over the leak has dragged on for years with no charges related to the leak coming out but several charges related to the investigation itelf. One wonders why anyone who is questioned by authorities, let alone brought before a grand jury, ever testifies. Even if one has not committed a crime, one could stumble into criminal charges by giving conflicting statements years apart.