Fitzgerald: No further investigation planned
In a lengthy press conference with reporters after the announcement of four guilty verdicts, federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said that he did not expect the results of the trial of former White House adviser I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby to result in further investigations or charges. He also promised "appropriate" support for any Congressional investigation that might follow the trial.
"I do not expect to file any further charges, the investigation was inactive prior to the trial," the Chicago-based federal attorney who led the prosecution said. "We're all going back to our day jobs."
However, Fitzgerald did concede "If new information comes to light, of course we'll do that."
A reporter prompted Fitzgerald on whether he would scale down his recommendations for a sentence if Libby were to offer more information to the prosecution that wasn't previously known.
"They can contact us," Fitzgerald responded of Libby and his attorneys.
Another reporter asked whether or not the prosecution would turn over sealed files from the grand jury investigation to a Congressional investigation. Fitzgerald gave a measured answer.
"If Congress does something or not, we are not going to predict that," he said. "We will do what's appropriate."
Fitzgerald said he and his prosecution team were on pins and needles as they waited for the jury to complete its deliberations.
"Of course I got worried. Lawyers are paid to worry, and some are paid more than others," he joked. "We just sit around worrying about things we have no control over."
But he said that there were no regrets about prosecuting the charges, and he described the trial as necessary because Libby told lies in the course of an important investigation.
"We could not walk away from that, it is inconceivable any prosecutor could walk away from that," he said.
He later added, "We cannot tolerate perjury...if you don't tell the truth, we cannot make the judicial system work."
He also noted that it was very serious that a high level official had lied under oath in a national security-related investigation.
When a reporter asked the prosecutor how the trial will affect the right of the press to protect confidential sources, Fitzgerald gave a lengthy response, emphasizing the uniqueness of the trial.
"What was unique about this case...the reporters involved were not just getting whistleblower tips, it was not whistleblowing, they were not reporting something that otherwise would not have been heard, they were potential eyewitnesses to a crime," he explained.
"We cannot bring the case without talking to reporters, that's irresponsible," he added. "I'm not saying we shouldn't be careful, there should be Attorney General guidelines on resorting to questioning reporters, and it should be a last resort in a very unusual case, but what people should realize, it's never off the table."