11/18/2005

Fitzgerald to Convene New Grand Jury in Leak Case

Fitzgerald to Convene New Grand Jury in Leak Case
Filings Suggest Additional Charges

By Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 18, 2005; 3:02 PM

The federal prosecutor investigating the leak of a CIA operative's identity says he plans to present information to a new grand jury, a sign that he is considering additional charges in his two-year-old probe.

Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald said in court filings that his investigation "will involve proceedings before a different grand jury than the grand jury which returned the indictment" against Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Fitzgerald obtained the indictment against Libby Oct. 28 on five counts of perjury, obstruction of justice and false statements and said at that time that his investigation was nearly complete. However, he told attorneys for Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff, that Rove remains under investigation for possible false statements in the probe into whether administration officials revealed the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame in 2003.

Since then, a new wrinkle has been added to the case by the disclosure that an unidentified senior administration official told The Washington Post's Bob Woodward about the CIA operative a month before her name was published. Woodward revealed that he testified in a deposition Monday, answering Fitzgerald's questions about his conversation with the official in mid-June 2003.

The timing of the conversation appeared to make Woodward the first journalist to be told that the wife of administration critic Joseph C. Wilson IV worked for the CIA on issues relating to weapons of mass destruction. Libby's defense team has seized on the revelation, saying it undermines Fitzgerald's case against Libby. The special counsel had identified Libby in a post-indictment news conference as the first official to disclose Plame's identity to a journalist.

Fitzgerald was scheduled to appear in federal court today to argue that much of the evidence gathered in his investigation -- material to be used in his prosecution of Libby -- should be withheld from the public or news media before trial.

He initially sought a blanket protective order preventing Libby's defense team from releasing any of that information. The proposed protective order was formally opposed by Dow Jones & Co., which owns the Wall Street Journal, and the Associated Press. But in a court filing late Thursday, the special counsel offered a compromise that might give the news media access to some of the evidence against Libby before his trial, the Associated Press reported.

Fitzgerald's latest filing said he is "mindful that as much of the conduct of pretrial litigation and the trial itself should be conducted in open court with publicly filed documents."

The compromise would restrict the defense's disclosure to the media of grand jury transcripts and personal information about witnesses, such as phone numbers and addresses, AP reported. Fitzgerald argued for the "need to preserve the confidentiality of grand jury proceedings" and pointed out that "the grand jury's investigation is ongoing."

Fitzgerald to Convene New Grand Jury in Leak Case

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