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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Leopold Report wrong?

Byron York of the definitely pro-administration National Review spoke with Mark Corallo, the spokesman for Rove's defense who said,
Did Patrick Fitzgerald come to Patton Boggs for 15 hours Friday?
Did he come to Patton Boggs for any period of time Friday?
Did he meet anywhere else with Karl Rove's representatives?
Did he communicate in any way with Karl Rove's representatives?
Did he inform Rove or Rove's representatives that Rove had been indicted?

So, either Corallo's lying or Leopold's sources were. I think we'll know which soon.

The question I guess would be, who would benefit by lying on either side. If the story is true, how much benefit does Rove's side gain in delaying the announcement 24 hours until after the President's speech? Would they be going back on Monday attempting to reopen plea negotiations? An effort to try to release the story on their terms? (As far as I can think, there is no punishment for Rove's defense team if they are lying. What, they're going to lose credibility?)

And on the other side, why would the sources lie to Leopold? Maybe to set up a situation where the administration can go after irresponsible reporting as an effort to spin this thing as political or the Rove indictment as not a big deal to the base? If you were going to pull a media operation, wouldn't you go bigger than Leopold at truthout? I mean, if Rove wasn't indicted, why would you want a false story out there that he was?

Maybe it was some rogue group working against Rove or the White House? Leopold's sourcing for the Patton Boggs meeting is "high level sources with direct knowledge of the meeting," so it's possible. But again, if you were trying to run a media operation, why do it in such a relatively small place?

Looking at it briefly, it looks to me like the Rove defense team and administration has more to lie for, but as we don't know the all details that's just pure supposition.

I wish I had solid answers for you, but I don't. Just have to wait a couple of days I guess.

UPDATE: TalkLeft spoke with Leopold who stands by his story. Also, Larry Johnson repeated that Joe Wilson had received very similar information. I gave a short version of my interpretation in the comments for now. Short version, Corallo/Rove's side is lying, seeking out two extremely friendly journalists to get their side out. More later, I'm sure. (Thanks to Reality Based Educator for the pointer, obviously the earlier bird. If you're tracking the arcania of all this, that blog is a pretty good one to watch.)

What these Corallo denials also mean though, is that if Leopold's story is true, it's going to take a lot of heavy sourcing for anyone else to go to print supporting his version. Effectively, this denial by Rove's team just seriously raised the bar on this story, making it more unlikely, I think, that we will get a second news source confirmation.


  • it's quite an interesting development. We'll see how it shakes out monday and tuesday.

    By Blogger Left of Center, at 12:27 AM  

  • Talk Left has a post on the Mark Corallo denial.

    Jason Leopold told Jerralyn at Talk Left that Josh Gerstein of the NY Sun told him that Rove's press guy, Mark Corallo, called both Byron York and Gerstein himself with the denial of Leopold's article.

    That would mean Corallo was reaching out to a select group of friendly reporters, not the other way around. And remember, York is a real hack. Last time I saw York on TV talking about the Plame case, he was telling Tweety Valerie Plame wasn't covert anyway so Fiztgerald ought to just shut down his operation and go back to Chicago.

    Also Jerralyn has this comment about the "24 business hours" reference:

    "From a legal standpoint (and keep in mind Jason, and for all I know, his sources are not lawyers) it makes more sense to me that Fitz would want a final answer from Rove Monday so that he could prepare his final argument for the grand jury on Tuesday and seek its approval of the Indictment Wednesday. Even if Fitz submitted charges to the grand jury last week for its consideration, it doesn't mean they actually voted on them. Perhaps they began discussion last week and continued deliberations until they met again this week.

    I say this because legally, I just can't understand how Fitz would not be violating Rule 6(e) pertaining to disclosures of matters before the grand jury by sharing a returned (voted on) Indictment with Luskin before it was filed or unsealed. Unless, as one lawyer commenter in an earlier TL thread noted, Fitz also filed a motion and obtained a court order to share it with Luskin and Rove. I've never seen such an order in my practice, but I also don't see any reason why a Judge couldn't grant such a motion at the request of a prosecutor."

    I'm not a lawyer, so I'll defer to Merritt on this, but it's starting to sound like Leopold's story got at least some of the legal details wrong.

    Merritt's supposition that Fitz, Luskin, and Rove met on Friday to hammer out a deal, gave him until Monday to accept, leaving Fitz Tuesday to draw up the indictment and go to the grand jury on Wednesday does make sense to my untrained legal mind.

    By Blogger reality-based educator, at 5:20 AM  

  • Thanks a ton. That's alot of possible answers.

    I was going to add to this post that I found it highly suspicious that only Byron York got this, but then I got to thinking,that maybe York was the only one who published the denials, because, if Leopold's story were untrue, it would be pretty irresponsible of the NYTimes to print the allegation only to say corallo denied it.

    And on the mechanics that Leopold describes, it always sounded a bit odd to me. My guess was closer to the earlier talkleft theory, and the second theory in your comment. Reading Leopold's description, it sounded like he had the indictment in hand, and then went to discuss a plea deal with Rove. As to the sealed indictment, I would think that it was sealed to protect some of the evidence in it, and thus, revealing the charges in the indictment to Luskin for the purposes of a plea deal would not represent a problem so long as the detailing evidence was not released to reveal what documents/witnesses Fitzgerald had.

    By the way, it's really nice to have a fellow obsessive chasing this with me. I don't know why I get this way chasing the absolute arcania of particular stories, (Porter Goss's resignation being a recent example)but I do enjoy it and some stories don't seem to read right, and I like trying to figure them out.

    So, it's nice to know I'm not alone on the bus if you get my meaning.

    I'll try to keep you updted if I find anything else odd or useful, as well.


    By Blogger mikevotes, at 7:08 AM  

  • Mike,

    Haven't had a lot of time to blog today, but comments at Talk Left pointed me to a story on Scoop.co.nz about allegations of fabrication/plagiarism made against Leopold in the past. I put the link in an update to my Rove/Corallo post this morning. Read through it and tell me what you think. After reading the story (albeit quickly cuz' I'm at work), I'm wondering what to think...

    By Blogger reality-based educator, at 9:34 AM  

  • Matt Drudge on the radio yesterday said his sources say the Rove indicted story is flat-out wrong.

    By Blogger gary, at 10:21 AM  

  • Yeah, Gary, I would guess that his sources may well be from the same stream as the York piece, from Rove's defense team.

    I am beginning to doubt this story, as well.

    But it's clear somebody is lying, and by my calculations, the Rove defense has more reason to lie. Doesn't mean it's not Leopold or his sources, but I can't seem to pick the credible side in this righjt now.


    By Blogger mikevotes, at 10:34 AM  

  • I still don't get why Rove's team went out of its way to kill this story by a)issuing a denial to a story that had yet to make it into the mainstream media b)putting Rove on TV for the AEI speech to show that he was still around and on the job.

    If the story isn't true, then they should have let it die. Remember that story (probably apochryphal) about LBJ wanting to tell the press that a political enemy was a goatfucker and somebody on his staff saying "That's not true that he's a goatfucker" and LBJ says "Yeah, but make him deny it."

    The vigorous denial from Rove's camp doesn't make sense, especially if they still expect him to be indicted later in the week. Whatever they say today could easily be undercut by a Fitzgerald press conference on Wed or Fri.

    I too am beginning to doubt Leopold's story. While Rove's defense team definitely has a motive to lie, the particulars to Leopold's report just aren't making sense.

    Let's see what we hear tonight on Hardball and/or Countdown. With any luck Shuster will address the story tonight (if not leopold's story, then at least an update on the case.)

    I am doubt the story as well.

    By Blogger reality-based educator, at 12:32 PM  

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