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Libby Live: Jill Abramson


NOTES: (1) This is not a transcript — It's the blogger's approximation, and no one really knows what that is yet! But I do know you shouldn't quote anything not in quotation marks. (2) I'll timestamp the updates and will update about every 15 minutes, servers willing. The hamsters that run the servers will appreciate it if you don't refresh excessively in the meantime. (3) If you're not having enough fun just reading along the liveblog, consider buying my book on this case.

Just a reminder of some of the background here. When Fitz subpoenaed Judy and Cooper, he also subpoenaed their employers. Time eventually handed over Cooper's emails. But NYT said they had nothing. So whatever Abramson says today, she is going to say there was no documentation from this purported Judy Miller meeting. Who knows, though, whether we'll finally get a description of what status Judy was in July 2003, when she couldn't serve as a cut-out for Libby's leak of Plame's identity. Remember, they had a big knock down discussion to get to Judy's severance agreement, so Abramson may not be able to explain that in detail.

Here goes. I'm not entirely sure that Abramson is first (the NYT folks don't know either). 

Walton sounds sick—a bad cold or flu or something.

Walton: Addresses issue of whether Fitz can introduce Plame's CPD status.

Fitz: Sorry for your apparent cold. I apologize for failing to bring this to your attention yesterday. First, your honor had ruled that way at the prior CIPA proceeding. Your honor had clearly indicated

Walton as it relates to this witness?

Fitz Yes. February 5 at page 21. The court said, if the govt is going into rebuttal. It's only fair for the govt to bring that out. Then your honor said is the govt prepared to stipulate that she was not in WINPAC to introduce this.

Walton How was the issue presented to me?

Fitz I said she understood the term bureau meant nonproliferation.

Walton Did she say that the word he used was bureau and she construed that?

Fitz The only discussion is in the record here. She understood this.  I would point out additionally, we understood, throughout the case, that unless the Defense did something, we couldn't introduce her status. But if they did, we would have put up a witness to explain that she was CPD, both for Judy and for Fleischer. If it's off the table that we can talk about her status, I think it's perfectly appropriate to say she doesn't work at WINPAC but at CPD. The protection that we not discuss Plame's employment was a shield, and now it's being used as a sword.

Walton Maybe you're right in the broader context. If he did tell other people that she worked at CPD, Mr Libby did provide info on where she worked. From a broader perspective I might agree with you.


Walton cedes the broad issue.

Fitz I think it's plainly clear if we had said we're calling someone from CIA to talk about Plame being CPD, if we're now piercing that line,

Walton It's an open question.  I would have concerns that even though impeachment of Miller was limited to her, that's an issue we're going to have to address when we get to govt's case.

Fitz I'd hate to call jury in for rebuttal case, I'd hate to call just one witness. I think the line that had been drawn that we couldn't talk about her status.

Walton I don't think I need to rule now, I'd like my clerk to do some research. 

Jeffress I've given Zeidenberg a stipulation. As far as this rebuttal issue, I want to make clear that I'm not presenting evidence of where she does not work.

Walton when it comes to rebuttal, I've got to make a decision on whether the info of where she does work should come in.

Jeffress We can argue that later.

Fitz My intention is to stipulate to two facts.

Walton I can't force a stipulation on the parties. If you don't, they have to call someone from CIA.

Fitz Once your honor rules, we can handle this.

Walton mentions that Mitchell will be here at 1:30. She was going to testify without the jury, first, so Libby's team knows whether her testimony would be to see if they can admit it. Wells was explaining to him whether or not she was going to, but he was not by the mike and then walked away from the camera. Helpful, Ted. Think of the media room!!! 

Walton It would be my view that the only probative value that her statement would have would be if jury could consider substantive evidence.  Since it's my view that it can't be used for that purpose, in my view it does qualify as hearsay.


Wells I don't to reargue my point. But I'd like to call her to talk about how aggressively she was working on the story. Once I show the intensity with which she was covering the story, I would have the right to question her whether she heard a rumor, and then I'd have the right to impeach her. [Sure seems like he's rearguing the point–btw Ted has his humble personality on right now, speaking real low and rationally.]

Wells I'm willing to sit on the record as is. I do believe I would have the right to impeach her. I'm not calling her as a subterfuge. I will accept that the record is closed. I will release her. My appelate record is protected.

Walton The intensity of what she was doing in and of itself doesn't add to your defense.

Wells If you accept that the intensity of her work is relevant, then I submit that the statement is admissible.

Walton The intensity doesn't mean anything UNLESS you're arguing she may have heard it. The mere fact that intensity of investigation doesn't help your case. You've got to couple the two for it to have any value in your case. You may perceive it as having probative value. It has nil value. 

Wells That's why I'm willing to rest on the record with that understanding. [Sounds like we won't see Mitchell, sorry Tom Maguire.]


Hey I was right!! It is Jill Abramson (I'll use J and JA)] 

JA I work at NYT, I'm managing editor. I worked for many years in Washington, EdInChief of Legal times, almost a decade at WSJ as reporter and editor, 

J In addition to being Mg Editor, do you teach journalism

JA Once a week seminar at Yale

J July 2003 were you working at NYT, duties?

JA Washington bureau chief.  Supervise bureau of reporters and editors about 50 journalists.

J Did you have "working relationship" with Judith Miller

JA I did, I was not her main editor, she did not report out of the bureau

J In July 2003, were you working with Ms Miller on a story

JA She was doing companion piece to larger investigative effort by bureau reporters on flaws in pre-war intell, and Judy Miller was working on companion piece on fruitless search in Iraq. I was editing that.

J Recall that July 6 NYT carried op-ed by Wilson? Did that article cause something of a stir.

JA It caused a stir, in the ensuing week we had reporters chasing that story. 

J Did Judith Miller come to you to recommend NYT pursue story.

JA I have no recollection of such a conversation.

Bonamici In your dealings with Ms Miller, did you sometimes find your self tuning out of conversations.

JA It's possible that I occasionally tune her out. 

Witness dismissed.

Laughs all around in the media room.

I'll stay here for the next witness.


Sidebar discussion…

Jeffress read a stipulation. WINPAC is a center within CIA. The records of CIA show that Valerie Wilson did not work for nor was she detailed to WINPAC in 2003 or at any other time.

Another sidebar. It's going to be one of those days–sidebar after sidebar punctuated by a few laughs.

I'm going to start a new thread for Hannah. 

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