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April 26, 2006
Cancel Fitzmas: Attorney

The Associated Press story on the new testimony of Karl Rove to the grand jury investigating the leak of the identity of Valerie Plame to the media buries a critical part of a statement by Rove's lawyer deep in the article. The AP reports on Rove's return visit to special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's panel by emphasizing the potential peril for the White House political advisor:

Top White House aide Karl Rove made his fifth grand jury appearance in the Valerie Plame affair Wednesday, undergoing several hours of questioning about a new issue that has come to light since the last time he testified.

Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald declined to comment at the conclusion of the grand jury session. Rove appeared at ease as he left the U.S. courthouse, joking to journalists to "move to the back" as the White House aide, his lawyer and several reporters entered an elevator to leave the building.

It isn't until the eleventh paragraph that the AP gets around to reporting what should be breaking news:

Rove "testified voluntarily and unconditionally at the request of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald to explore a matter raised since Mr. Rove's last appearance," Luskin said in a statement. "Mr. Fitzgerald has affirmed that he has made no decision concerning charges."

According to Luskin, Fitzgerald has advised that Rove is not a target of the investigation [emphasis mine -- CE]. A target is someone likely to be indicted.

Given all of the frogwalking demanded by people who have been convinced of Rove's guilt without any proof whatsoever, this statement seems rather remarkable. The fact that the AP buried it in its late-night recap of the event is even more remarkable. After all, the blogosphere has been abuzz with the Rove testimony all day, speculating that Fitzmas was once more just around the corner.

If Rove's attorney related the conversation correctly, Fitzmas has just been canceled. Fitzgerald has had over two years to come up with charges against anyone other than Scooter Libby, who hasn't been charged with anything connected to the leak but with lying to investigators during Fitzgerald's probe. Fitzgerald hasn't even established that a crime was committed, let alone announced who committed it if one was. Telling Rove's attorney that his client was not a target of the grand jury proceeding is tantamount at this point to a pass.

Instead of pursuing that statement, however, the AP follows up with one legal expert proclaiming that Rove's appearance is an "ominous sign" for Bush's right-hand man. They do this despite explaining that Luskin's statement means that Rove is not likely to ever face an indictment, a pretty safe bet when a prosecutor has failed to establish that a crime has even been committed. Stanley Brand never mentions the implication of Rove's not being a target to his analysis of the dire predicament. Perhaps Brand relied on the AP report to keep him informed.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 26, 2006 10:27 PM

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