Prosecutor gave former Bush spokesman immunity in leak case

John Byrne
Published: Friday January 26, 2007
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CIA leak Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald gave White House spokesman Ari Fleischer immunity in the case investigating the outing of CIA officer Valerie Plame without even knowing his story, the prosecutor told court Thursday.

"As Fitzgerald's inquiry was heating up into who revealed CIA operative Valerie Plame's name to reporters, Fleischer stepped forward with an offer: Give me immunity from prosecution and I'll give you information that might help your case," AP reported Friday. "What prosecutors didn't know was that Fleischer was one of the leakers. And without immunity, he refused to talk. Not even a hint."

"Prosecutors normally insist on an informal account of what a witness will say before agreeing to immunity," AP continues. "It's known in legal circles as a proffer, and Fitzgerald said Thursday that he never got one from Fleischer, who was chief White House spokesman for the first 2 1/2 years of President Bush's first term."

"I didn't want to give him immunity. I did so reluctantly," Fitzgerald told the court. "I was buying a pig in a poke."