Judge mulls 'how far' Miller must go in testifying on sources

David Edwards
Published: Wednesday January 31, 2007
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Below is a rough transcript from MSNBC's David Shuster on the Libby trial, followed by excerpts from liveblogging. Subjects being discussed during the course of today's trial include what Miller heard at various times from various parties about the identity of Valerie Plame and Joseph Wilson, and the circumstances under which Miller went to jail to protect her journalistic sources.

In later testimony, Matt Cooper, a former Time reporter who made the decision to disclose his sources rather than go to prison, told the court that Karl Rove had told him that Joseph Wilson's wife worked on weapons of mass destruction issues at the CIA, according to blogger "emptywheel," or Marcy Wheeler.

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Host: Is the defense team expected to go after Judith Miller's memory, once again, today?

Shuster: The key issue is that Judy Miller testified for the prosecution about those conversation that happened before Scooter Libby said that he even learned about Valerie Wilson and Judy Miller in her testimony said she heard Scooter Libby talking about Valerie Wilson and the fact that Wilson was working at the CIA and before Scooter Libby had the conversation where he told investigators that he first learned about Valerie Wilson. So, her testimony is damaging to the defense in several ways.

And what the defense is now trying to do on the cross examination is point out that after Judy Miller got out of jail for refusing to testify about her source Scooter Libby, she immediately went to the grand jury and during that first grand jury session she remembered one conversation with Scooter Libby and another conversation over the phone but she did not remember her June 23, 2003 conversation. The prosecutors, after that grand jury session, asked her to try to go back and find her notebooks and look at her notes. She went back to her desk in New York, found in a big bag, a series of notebooks. In going through the notebooks, then remember that she actually did have this June conversation with Scooter Libby. And that she had actually written down Valerie Wilson's name in her notebook. What the defense is trying to do is suggest that if you couldn't remember on your own this June conversation with Libby, why should the jury trust her ability now?

So, they've been hammering at her memory. The other thing that they are trying to do, is that while Judy Miller has testified about her source scooter libby related to the Wilson's issue, late yesterday, the defense was asking her if she had any other source that she could remember sort of related to the larger issue about pre-war intelligence and issues related to the Wilson's. And she said she couldn't remember. That sparked a huge court fight because, again, Judy Miller didn't want to have to testify about sources other than scooter libby. Her own lawyer got up and started explain to the court that it's not something she wanted to do and then the prosecution and the defense got into this huge argument about how far should the reporter, Judy Miller, have to go talking about sources. And, again, that was the whole issue that prompted Judy Miller to decide that she wanted to go to jail for 85 days. The judge is expected to resolved that issue overnight and make a ruling this morning about how far Judy Miller has to go testifying about sources other than Scooter Libby and then her cross examination will continue again with the defense trying to show that Judy Miller is not credible.

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Host: And, David, looking a little further, who do you expect on the stand next in this trial?

Shuster: There will be another journalist, Matt Cooper, who was the recipient of information from Scooter Libby about Valerie Wilson according to Matt Cooper. He'll be on the witness stand next for the prosecution. And, again, this is part of the prosecution effort to show that Scooter Libby actually had the information about Valerie Wilson before he testified that he had it and that he was disseminating this information. All at a period, before Valerie Wilson was outed as a CIA operative.

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Emptywheel, live-blogging the trial at firedoglake, has a rough transcript of Judge Walton's decision this morning.

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Walton: We left with whether the question was appropriate. My conclusion, it seems to me that scope of evidence that's relevant is constrained by what the issues are, in particular as it relates to the witness. When any witness takes the stand, their general credibility comes into issue. If there is evidence that definitively goes to her general credibility, obviously even though that challenge may be beyond that issue, if she had provided a false statement under oath, it would be appropriate to query her in reference to that false info, if she lied under oath before, then the jury might conclude she would lie under oath again. If, in fact, there were other people she had spoken to on this issue, if there were in fact sources she had talked regarding that issue, because conceivably, it could be argued that she confused who she got the information from.

The op-ed says nothing about 'his wife.' It's all about this trip, about his conclusions about the reasons we went to war, I'd assume in context of that broad scope, in reference to the fifth paragraph of the affadavit, specifically says she had never written an article about Wilson or Plame, she contemplated writing an article about the op-ed, that op-ed says nothing about Plame. To ask a question about her sources this far afield would require her to reveal her sources, I don't think it's in any way relevant to this litigation. We need to make a record, in the event there's a conviction, in the event of an appeal. I assume as an officer of the court that she has sources that would provide info that is relevant to the broad scope of the topic of Wilson's op-ed.

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After the Firedoglake blog suffered a service breakdown, EmptyWheel (aka Marcy Wheeler) continued at Daily Kos, with more updates from Miller's testimony in response to juror questions.

Miller claimed that she wasn't being a "martyr" by going to jail, and denied that there had been any "quid pro quo" between her and Libby.

EmptyWheel's rough transcript:

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Walton: Why didn't you or your attorney contact Libby earlier?

Miller: Because I was afraid of a fishing expedition. It was only after I had both things.

Walton: If you had had his personal waiver immediately, would you have testified?

Miller: I still needed agreement that it would be this one source on this subject. As soon as I got both, I went to testify.

Walton: Why did you make decision to go to jail?

Miller: Because all of my reporting depended on my ability to protect sources. Until I had something written from Libby, not something his boss asked him to sign, I felt that as a professional matter, it was all I could do. I wasn't trying to be a martyr. You can't operate that way in DC, it was too important in national security reporting.

Walton: Have you ever had memory losses like the memory loss you said you had with Libby?

Miller: When I was preparing my last book, there was an incident. I went back and found out the story was very different. I'd actually misremembered it. From that time, I've been careful about notes, trying to be careful.

Walton: Did you make agreement with Libby regarding sharing of info that might be a quid pro quo?

Miller: No, only the way in which he was to be identified. There was no quid pro quo.

Walton: The notes that you found after you were asked to look for notes. Where did you locate those?

Miller: Right under my desk at NYT in shopping bag.

Walton: Is that where you kept your notes?

Miller: That's where I kept notes for a relevant period of time before I went to jail.

Walton: Is that your standard method of archiving?

Miller: I meant to archive them. I assumed I'd have time to take the notebooks home for safekeeping. That's why they were there. But the marshalls took me away right away.

Walton: How many other notebooks?

Miller: About 15 or 20.

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Emptywheel at DailyKos liveblogging on Karl Rove, with partial corrections by RAW STORY staff.

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Matt Cooper: Friday July 11, I spoke with Karl Rove, a member of WH staff. I put in a call to Rove's office, I was routed to his office, at first, he wasn't there, he was busy, but then they put me through, and we talked. I said "Ah sure, we're interested in Wilson story." And he immediately said, "Don't get too far out, don't lionize or idolize him." He said a number of things would be coming out. He said the DCI (Director of Central Intelligence) had not sent him. He said the VP had not been involved. Then he said, it would come out who was involved in sending him. He said his wife. I until that point didn't know Wilson had a wife. I said "the wife?" He said she worked in WMD at the Agency, I took the CIA, not the EPA. We talked a bit more, at the end he said, I've already said too much.

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