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The Spin That Won’t Die


I’m trying to wade through the mountain of articles that Rove’s Grand Jury appearance has generated since yesterday, but the same piece of spin keeps popping up article after article — unchallenged and unquestioned by any of the reporters who have dutifully copied down the dulcet tones of Gold Bars Luskin and committed them to paper.  Here is just one example from the LATimes:

Robert D. Luskin, Rove’s lawyer, said Wednesday that Fitzgerald had made no decision on whether to bring charges against Rove.

Some legal experts said the timing and circumstances of Rove’s latest testimony, which Luskin said was given "voluntarily and unconditionally," suggested that an indictment might not be imminent and that the development could be viewed as positive for Rove.

The thing about being a prosecutor working with a grand jury is this: as a prosecutor, you present information to the grand jury, you recommend particular charges for particular people — but you are not the person who indicts. The members of the grand jury do that — and it would be incredibly presumptuous, not to mention potentially rude and irritating to the grand jury, for a prosecutor to just step out and say he was going to indict someone when that is the job of the jurors themselves.

You never, ever do this, unless you are a moron or a press hog — and Patrick Fitzgerald does not strike me as either, frankly. 

You know when you decide that someone is going to be indicted?  As you are handed the true bill from the foreperson of the grand jury and you are about to ink off on the prosecutor’s signature line along with the presiding judge.  Any speculation about it beforehand is irrelevent.

Sure, you can provide a heads up to opposing counsel (if there is one) that you are going to request an indictment from the jury for a particular client — but considering the loose lips, all PR alla time, strategy that Gold Bars Luskin has employed in defending his client thus far — would you be rushing to the phone to do him any favors?  (It’s not a requirement, its a courtesy call, just so you all know.)

I covered the general workings of a grand jury here, and refined the analysis further here, in case anyone needs a refresher.

As to the second paragraph, well no one really knows what Fitzgerald has in his pockets or what he and his team are thinking except him and his team.  They are not the leaky sieve that the Starr investigation was (thank goodness, because that was an embarassment to prosecutors — you aren’t a PR operation, you are there to do the people’s business.).  It bears repeating over and over that every piece of information we are hearing (with the exception of some of Murray Waas’ pieces, which have that ring of "not from Luskin" to them) are all coming from the Libby, Rove and/or their cronies spin meister machinery.  (I’m looking at you, Babs.  Nice throw to Byron York yesterday, albeit not very convincing.)

If I were a betting woman, I’d put my money on Ben Ginsberg being one of the "legal experts" referred to in the second paragraph, since he was also on the talking head circuit yesterday to explain away any questions that Rove might be feeling some heat.  Yes, my friends, the Wurlitzer is being revved up again — which only makes me wonder how much more there may be to come, or why Rove has to try so hard to make people look the other way.

I’m going back to my reading now, but I just had to get that off my chest.  Uncritical repeating of spin is a personal peeve of mine, and the fact that this particular bit of spin is making the rounds — again — is particularly irritating.  Now, on to more coffee, more spin, and more speculation…

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com