Wednesday, June 21, 2006


It appears that Randall Samborn's October28, 2006 statement "the investigation will continue with a new grand jury" was NOT the only time he gave a substantive answer to a relevant question regarding the Fitzgerald investigation.

Back on October 29, 2005 Ryan Lizza -- writing for a section of The New Republic called The Plank -- claimed to have received a very cryptic answer from Samborn to a probing question about the Fitzgerald investigation:

"Yesterday, I asked Fitzgerald spokesman Randall Samborn if there were any guilty pleas in the case. He told me there was no "public record" of such pleas. That sounded less than fully responsive, so I asked Preston Burton, a white collar criminal defense attorney, if there could be guilty pleas outside of the public record. Here's what he said:

'Guilty pleas can be taken under seal--and often are--when the person entering the plea is cooperating with the government and they do not want to tip off the other targets or there is a safety concern. Also, plea agreements could have already been reached but not formally entered in court.'

Considering Samborn's cagey answer and the fact that we know Fitzgerald received high-level cooperation from several current and former administration officials, it is entirely possible that Libby is not the only Bushie who's been busted."

Wow! We are definitely not in Kansas anymore if that quote is true.

It was also mentioned at Americanprogress on November 3, 2005:

Another thing we still don't know is if anyone pled guilty in the case. As TNR's Ryan Lizza reported over the weekend, he asked Fitzgerald's spokesman Randall Samborn just that question. Samborn partially dodged the question, telling Lizza that there was no "public record" of any pleas. Not satisfied, Lizza put the question to "a white collar criminal defense attorney," who told him that "Guilty pleas can be taken under seal – and often are – when the person entering the plea is cooperating with the government and they do not want to tip off the other targets or there is a safety concern. Also, plea agreements could have already been reached but not formally entered in court."

So here we have another instance of Samborn breaking from his standard "no comment", but this one here, this Samborn statement is way way out of character. Somebody needs to grill this Lizza person on the exact details of Samborn's statement about no guilty pleas having been entered in the public record.

Furthermore, if this quote is accurate, it provides further evidence that Samborn and Fitzgerald's recent double "no comment" as to whether the investigation is ongoing and what Karl Rove's status is...appears very strange indeed.

And the greek chorus being thrown about by Firedoglake and other main stream blogs trying to sell you on looking away from those bizarre Samborn/Fitz "no comments" just got their asses handed to them once again.

Imagine Rove plead guilty BEFORE giving the Grand Jury the chance to indict him. This is perfectly legal and plausible. It happens in RICO cases all the time:

When the U.S. Attorney decides to indict someone under RICO, he has the option of seeking a pre-trial restraining order or injunction to prevent the transfer of potentially forfeitable property, as well as require the defendant to put up a performance bond. This provision is intended to force a defendant to plead guilty before indictment.

Now apply this scenario to the facts in the Fitzgerald investigation. If Rove plead guilty, there could have been...

a. no indictment
b. no deal
c. no reason for Fitzgerald to "anticipate seeking charges"

Furthermore, the guilty plea might be sealed because there's a good public policy for having those pleas sealed. The secrecy protects the integrity of the investigation as well as the identity of the person who plead. And if that persoon is also going to be a witness, than the secrecy of a sealed plea would protect the witness from harm.

If Rove offered to plead guilty on his own volition while also offering to be a witness for the prosecution then you can't really characterize that as "cutting a deal". Perhaps he threw himself on the mercy of the court?

And if that's what happened, then all of Luskin and Corallo's statements are technically true.

If Rove plead guilty under these circumstances, and that plea is sealed, Luskin's manipulation of the facts to make it look like Rove was totally cleared has been a truly disgusting trick on the American people.

Somebody with access, hint to Talk Left, ought to ask Luskin specifically whether or not Rove plead guilty to anything in this investigation. A " no comment" type answer from Luskin would be a blockbuster quote.

This scenario is a strong contender.

"Wanna go for a ride?"