08/15/2005: If I were Karl Rove, I wouldn't be sleeping well lately....
Via the L.A. Times (registration required or use BugMeNot), we get an interesting profile of Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and special prosecutor in the Plame leak investigation: Standing on the Shoulders of Perjury Law
When Al Qaeda operative Wadih El-Hage blamed false testimony he had given to a federal grand jury on confusion and jet lag, then-assistant U.S. Atty. Patrick J. Fitzgerald was not impressed. "I submit to you," Fitzgerald told jurors at El-Hage's 2001 trial in New York, "you heard 10 of the most pathetic excuses of perjury ever known."If Bush's Brain had the nerve to lie to the grand jury, he may live to rue the day. Especially since the thought that Rove lied just might make him more motivated to bring the GOP kingpin down.
El-Hage, once Osama bin Laden's personal secretary, is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole — convicted of perjury, among other things.
Things tend to work out that way when Patrick J. Fitzgerald is prosecuting a case.
Fitzgerald, 44, has a history of invoking perjury laws and related statutes to buttress his investigations.
So it may not be surprising that he is considering perjury charges in his current assignment — as a special prosecutor investigating whether anyone in the Bush administration illegally leaked the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame to journalists.
Fitzgerald's 20-month-long investigation initially focused on whether administration officials had broken a federal law that made it a felony to knowingly disclose the identity of covert agents. But more recently, the inquiry is believed to have shifted to the question of whether officials — including White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove — who discussed Plame with journalists may have misled Fitzgerald and his investigators.
Fitzgerald's tendency to invoke the laws against lying comes from two things, colleagues say: the particular way he uses grand jury testimony when he conducts an investigation, and his deep-seated aversion to being lied to.And the good news is that everything I've heard indicates that Fitzgerald isn't a typical partisan Rethugnican, and he's not particularly ambitious. So he's not likely to cut "The Architect" a deal merely because he's an important man in the Party, nor is he likely to be pressured into ignoring Rove's crimes for fear of ruining his future career prospects.
Many prosecutors go before a grand jury only after they have a case pretty well wrapped up. But Fitzgerald's approach is to use the grand jury as a tool for compelling witnesses to disclose information. And if he thinks a witness has fiddled with the truth, associates say, he becomes indignant.
"He is an aggressive prosecutor," said Joshua Dratel, a New York lawyer who represented El-Hage. "If he feels someone is lying to him, he takes it personally."
This is one to keep an eye on.
Len on 08.15.05 @ 06:57 PM CST