Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Preview for tomorrow: Plame prosecutor still to demand that Matthew Cooper testify to the grand jury or go to jail

magazine reporter Matthew Cooper should still be required to testify before a federal grand jury, or ordered to go to jail anyway, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has said in court papers filed today.

Here is what Fitzgerald had to say: "After reviewing the documents provided by Time Inc., Cooper's testimony remains necessary" for the completion of the prosecutor's work. Fitzgerald also asked the judge to turn down requests by Cooper and New York Times reporter Judith Miller to serve out their time at home: "Forced vacation at a comfortable home is not a compelling form of coercion," the prosecutor said. (Miller had offered to forego her cell phone and Internet access in pleadings earlier filed by the NYT. Maybe she should have offered to give up her access to cable, too.)

Things do not look too good for both reporters, who are to appear tomorrow before Federal District Court Judge Thomas F. Hogan of the District of Columbia. Hogan has already held both reporters in civil contempt, but suspended their sentences while they have unsuccessfully appealed their the contempt findings. The reporters now face up to 120 days in prison.

In seeking stiff sentences for the two reporters, Fitzgerald cited an editorial in the Los Angeles Times questioning the reporters' "absolutist" positions, as well as other journalists who have advocated that Cooper and Miller disclose their sources.

(A few editorial comments: First, one is taught and told that prosecutors and judges are supposed to act according to the law, instead of public opinion. That is what is known as the "rule of law". It is also more than a little disconcerting to learn that the Los Angeles Times is taking such a position. As with Time's capitulation in turning over Cooper's notes, and Cooper complying with that decision, the LA Times editorial illustrates once again that the most serious threat to freedom of the press is the contemporary press.)

In other Plame news: The blogosphere is extraordinarily civilized! In a lengthy post yesterday, I detailed exculpatory evidence to Karl Rove as to why breathless reports by MSNBC analyst Lawrence O'Donnell and Newsweek's Michael Isikoff were irresponsible reporting. I expected to wake up this morning to be excoriated by some bloggers on the left, who ordinarily like this blog, because I was telling them some news they wouldn't want to hear. Instead, those who disagreed, either did so respectfully, or had solid analysis of their own and added new information to what we already know.

This particular post on leftcoaster.com contains a very good analysis of the current situation. DailyKos also had some interesting stuff as well. Michael Miller, at Public Domain Progress, writes: "Whatever happened in the Plame outing is forever fixed, immutable history; it cannot be unhappened. That-- what happened-- is what we need to know. Who, what, when, how, and why."

Meanwhile, David Corn, at his blog at the Nation, has this analysis as well as to why Novak's source most likely was not Rove.

(This post has been updated since originally posted today, and will again as events continue to unfold tonight.)

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