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May 11, 2006


fromFirst read today:

The Cunningham case could wind up causing Republicans a heap more trouble than that, it seems. The Los Angeles Times reports today that House Appropriations Committee chair Jerry Lewis is now entangled in the broadening federal investigation.

Pardon me? Not so fast.

There are delicious civil lawsuit opportunities. Plame and Wilson have already loaded their gun, ready to fire on short notice.

Then anyone damaged by the NSA lawbreaking has a statutory right to sue for punitive damages against any persons who broke the FISA law. Brought in the right court, this would put the defendants in the delightful position of having to claim that the president told them to break the law.

Also, any citizen can bring a lawsuit against perpetrators of fraud in the expenditure of federal funds. And here's the beauty of that one: under the law, plaintiffs in such lawsuits are styled as suing ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES, to recover for the United States the value of the fraudulent expenditures, etc., while collecting a nice share for themselves.

And in any of the suits, the full scope of disccovery, and right to compel testimony, is available to the plaintiffs.

So even if everybody is pardoned, the truth will still come out in open court and the perpetrators will be penniless even if not in the penitentiary.


I used to believe that. But I'm not so sure. I don't know what the statute of limitations for a Wilson civil case is. But it's been 3 years since the damage.

And if the recent AT&T dismissal is any indication, they'll just claim state secrecy on the NSA spying.

I think there is another way in which the Plame case can potentially damage the Republican party in a very serious way. Although we haven't heard much about it since Waas's first Plame article, the FBI was initially very interested in contacts between the conspirators and the RNC, among others. If Fitzgerald connects Rove to the June activities of Libby AND earlier contacts with Republican political operatives, the entire nature of the criminal conspiracy changes dramatically. It is possible that that connection is exactly what Rove and Libby were hiding with their lies to the FBI and the grand jury.


Excellent point. I was trying to be diminutive on account of Jeff's compelling case that Fitz hasn't strayed from his central pursuit.

FWIW, though, I think the GOP contacts in question were in Fall 2003. Which might put them in trouble for leaking (say) the INR memo to Jeff Gannon. Or for participating in the cover-up conspiracy from the Fall. Different timing, I guess I'm saying.

Do we know Fitz is not gathering evidence on the Niger Forgeries? I thought it had beeen reported that he had requested and recieved the Italian governments report on the burglaries.

I'm hoping Jeff shows up so he can repeat his argument on this, which I find compelling. Let me go look for it in the meantime.

In any case, though some have asked him to expand his investigation, he seems to have just referred those requests to DOJ, otherwise known as the Great Black Hole of lost investigations.


Take a look at these articles:

(from October 2003)


(March 2004)

Read in the light of what we know now, I think there is a rather interesting possibility that no one (as far as I know) has addressed. What if Fitzgerald's case against Rove is much broader than what's been assumed? What if he's connected the pre-outing activities with the post-outing activities? What if he's preparing a conspiracy case that includes the RNC, et. al.? That seems pretty "out there" based on what we know of the investigation to date, but look at what he did with the Illinois corruption investigation.

Fitzgerald's 3-17-06 affidavit in support of his response to Libby's motion to dismiss is clear on Fitzgerald's sense of his limited mandate:

I always understood that any expansion of the subject matter - which I have never sought - would have to come from the Acting Attorney General. I have never had any understanding to the contrary. In fact, when I received letters asking me to expand my jurisdiction to cover other allegations, I have referred those letters to other Department of Justice officials because i did not think it was my mandate to decide whether the subject matter of the investigation should be expanded.

As emptywheel and Lisa pointed out, the letters are probably those from Conyers and Hinchey. Whatever the case may be, it's clear that Fitzgerald is not going to expand his investigation, unless the Acting Attorney General tells him to, and I'd bet against that any day of the week.

That said, the RNC's role in the leak or relevant activities in fall 2003 would fall within the subject matter. That said, I really doubt the RNC or anyone there is being actively targeted in the investigation the way Rove is. Their activities are part of the context, as the lawyers say, but not much more.


I think Fitz would be happy to use the GOP activities from Fall 2003 to get at the big fish frogs. But since we haven't seen even Gannon or Cliff May picked off, I don't think Fitz thinks he needs that.

Though I am strongly suspicious that Fitz is looking at pre- and post- for Rove--and that may have been part of Rove's surprise at his most recent testimony.


the political question is

what punishment could persuade george bush not to issue pardons?

no library?

civil suits galore?

damage to the radical republican movement?

every politician has his nightmares.

and bush, president or no, is nothing but the lowest, cheapest kind of machine politician.

what would he be afraid of?

hey emptywheel, there's a more obviouse question here

Tom Noe's attorney and the U.S. attorney's office jointly filed a request Wednesday asking a federal judge to set a change of plea hearing as soon as possible. The filing did not indicate what the new plea will be.

take another look at that statement

The filing did not indicate what the new plea will be.

what else could it be ???

is this guy stupid enough to change his plea fron Not Guilty to Not Guilty

there ain't a lot of other choices, are there ???

nolo contendo, or guilty

and the end result is the same either way

so i wonder what it will be ???

RICO has a ten year status of limitation on civil suits

it also has about 7 hoops you have to jump thru to qualify under RICO

but if you qualify, the ten year limit is hard, firm, and court tested

talkleft and Maguire have the hearing transcript from May 5. Some interesting news.

What would he be afraid of? Lock up the booze? Commit him to rehab?

I disagree that Fitz is not pursuing the Niger forgeries aspect of the Plame outing. Motive is a very large part of proving one's case, for starters, and secondly, why obtain documents from Italy, if he was not pursuing the forgeries? Rep Maurice Hinchey wrote Fitz a letter, signed by 40 Reps, requesting that he increase the scope of his investigation to include the Niger forgeries. This was prior to the Libby indictments.

New America Media has an interesting article on the contract for Presidential helicpters going to an Italian company, rather than Sikorski, as pay back for Italy's role in procuring the Niger forgeries. Now that Berlusconi is gone, the evidence from Italy should be dynamite, thank heaven.

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