Rove spokesman says he didn't receive target letter

Published: Wednesday April 26, 2006

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Asked about a Truthout report which asserted that Karl Rove had received a so-called "target letter," a spokesman for Rove told Salon's Michael Scherer that the report is "utterly false."

The section of the United States Attorney manual pertaining to target notification does not specify the form in which the notice is to be delivered. In other words, the spokesman's assertion that Rove did not receive a target letter does not resolve whether Rove received notice of any kind.

If Rove did not receive a letter, the lack of a target notice does not necessarily mean that Rove is not a target. The manual does not require that targets be notified before indictment; it simply states that the prosecutor is "encouraged" to notify targets before seeking an indictment against them.

Excerpts from Truthout:

Karl Rove's appearance before a grand jury in the CIA leak case Wednesday comes on the heels of a "target letter" sent to his attorney recently by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, signaling that the Deputy White House Chief of Staff may face imminent indictment, sources that are knowledgeable about the probe said Wednesday.

It's unclear when Fitzgerald sent the target letter to Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin. Sources close to the two-year-old leak investigation said when Rove's attorney received the letter Rove volunteered to appear before the grand jury for an unprecedented fifth time to explain why he did not previously disclose conversations he had with the media about covert CIA operative Valerie Plame and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who criticized the Bush administration's use of pre-war Iraq intelligence.

A federal grand jury target letter is sent to a person in a criminal investigation who is likely to be indicted. In a prepared statement Wednesday, Luskin said Fitzgerald indicated that Rove is not a "target" of the investigation. A "target" of a grand jury investigation is a person who a prosecutor has substantial evidence to link to a crime.