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Friday, July 22, 2005

Spin Jockeys

David Johnston's article in the NYT today points to a possible conspiracy between Rove and Libby (among others) on the Plame case, and lets us know that Ari Fleisher may have a delicate part of his anatomy in a vise. But the restatement in every paragraph of "people who have been briefed on the case" rises to the level of the absurd.

Jeralyn has a helpful post on how to decrypt this crap from a lawyer's perspective:
If someone says they reviewed a grand jury transcript of anyone's testimony, it's a leak from someone now or formerly on Fitzgerald's team.

If someone says they are familiar with, or were briefed on the testimony (but doesn't mention seeing reading the transcript) it's probably the defense or allied Republican lawyers trying to help their "Administration official" friends.

It's only a 6(e) violation for a Government attorney or someone associated with one (including their investigators and agents) to disclose matters occurring before the grand jury. Witnesses before the grand jury and their attorneys are not under a secrecy rule. Transcripts of grand jury proceedings are not available to witness' lawyers before the investigation is over and an Indictment has been returned by the grand jury.

However, lawyers always debrief their clients after they testify and take notes as to what the client remembers being asked and remembers answering, and hope their clients are not mistaken or forgetting something. Defense lawyers are not allowed inside the federal grand jury room. They sit outside, and the clients are allowed to come out and talk to them during questioning if they have a question based on something the prosecutor has asked them. Lawyers can advise their client regarding the question, but they are not in the room to actually hear it. The client can come out as many times as is necessary.

When a client is in the grand jury room answering questions for several hours, it is doubtful they will remember every question asked and exactly how they answered, particularly if the prosecutor asks the same question numerous different ways.
I'm seriously hoping that as time goes on and it becomes apparent that many reporters have been lied to and manipulated by people in the Administration hoping to hide their spin as news, that those news organizations who are calling for Judy Miller to be released will also recognize their obligation to burn those sources and expose those who lied to them out of respect for the principle of journalistic privilege that they hold so dear after it has been so blatantly abused. Nothing else is going to prevent people from picking up the phone and trying to fob of one outrageous lie after another because they know they will never be held accountable for it.

Reporters at Time are now claiming they can't get anyone to talk to them. If they're suffering from a dearth of people who will lie to them, drop me a line, they are not exactly in short supply in Hollywood.