There's been a lot of discussion on the timing involved in Judy's deal with Fitzgerald. Was it Franklin's plea bargain? Was it DeLay's indictment? Of course, none of these make sense, since she has been working on a deal for almost a month and a half.
A short time after that story appeared (indeed a very, very short time-- about a week later), Miller's attorneys and Libby's attorney, Joseph A. Tate, began prolonged negotiations that would lead to Libby finally providing her a personal waiver that would lead to her release and testimony. There is quite a backstory there, and my then unnoticed Prospect story paved the way, in large part, I am told for those negotiations.
My guess, from this, is that Judy used the news that Scooter had already talked about the meeting himself as an entre to start negotiations. Moreover, I imagine she felt a little exposed here. Imagine going to jail to protect a source, but in so doing, allowing him to tell his side of the story but not you to tell your side of the story. I think that'd make me a whole lot less willing to take the fall, particularly if I felt Libby had misrepresented the story. Particularly if I were as interested in self-preservation as Judy.
But this also means Judy started negotiations with Tate at precisely the same time that Bolton visited her. Waas' article came out August 8. Negotiations started a week later, on August 15. Which is precisely the day Arianna had the scoop about Bolton's visit.
Me, I'm at least as interested in what went on in the last two weeks as I am in what started the negotiations. Judy had her conversation with Libby over a week ago.
After the phone call from Libby on Sept. 19 or 20, Tate said, the lawyers wrote a letter to Fitzgerald indicating Miller accepted Libby's representation that the waiver was voluntary.
But that wasn't enough to get her to talk. Judy sat and sat and sat for over a week. I guess Judy wasn't really telling the complete truth when she said hearing from Libby himself reassured her his release was voluntary.
What really seems to have been the proximate cause of her talking is not her conversation with Libby, but a back-and-forth between Tate, Libby's lawyer, and Abrams, Judy's (and the NYT's) lawyer.
On Sept. 16, Mr. Tate wrote to Mr. Fitzgerald saying his conversations with Mr. Abrams last year were meant to assure Ms. Miller that a broad waiver that Mr. Libby signed in late 2003 was not coerced and applied specifically to Ms. Miller.
On Thursday, Mr. Abrams wrote to Mr. Tate disputing parts of Mr. Tate's account. His letter said although Mr. Tate had said the waiver was voluntary, Mr. Tate had also said any waiver sought as a condition of employment was inherently coercive.[emphasis mine]
Abrams writes a letter to Tate on Thursday, Judy walks on Thursday.
It looks to me like Scooter went through all the motions of releasing Judy, even calling her and telling her to talk. Along with Tate's mock surprise that Judy's incarceration, punishment for contempt because she wouldn't reveal details of a conversation she had with a BushCo official the week of July 6 2003, had anything to do with the conversation Judy and Scooter had on July 8, 2003.
"We told her lawyers it was not coerced," Tate said. "We are surprised to learn we had anything to do with her incarceration."
But they retained this technical out--that so long as the release was made as condition of employment, it would not be valid. That is, until yesterday, Libby was trying to make claim, to Fitz, that he had released Judy, without actually doing so.