Coming to a close on the Plame case?

The special counsel says his investigation is almost complete. Will a government official face charges for giving false statements to prosecutors?

Published April 7, 2005 1:24PM (EDT)

Patrick Fitzgerald, the special counsel appointed to investigate the outing of Valerie Plame, says his investigation has been "for all practical purposes" finished since October 2004 -- except for obtaining the testimony of two reporters who risk going to jail over their refusal to testify about the identity of their confidential sources.

The import of Fitzgerald's statement: If his investigation is completed other than the testimony of Time's Matthew Cooper and the New York Times' Judith Miller, then he must have interviewed Robert Novak by now, right? That's the conclusion reached by Floyd Abrams, who is representing Time and the Times in the case. "In his motion, [Fitzgerald] represented that he is finished, except for the testimony of my clients," Abrams says. "I dont think he could say to the court that he is at that point unless he has already heard from Novak."

Abrams made the comment in an interview with Murray Waas, who had the story on the Plame case in the American Prospect's online edition yesterday. In a follow-up piece this morning, the Washington Post says unidentified sources close to the case say Fitzgerald is unlikely to seek an indictment of anyone for revealing that Plame's identity as a CIA agent, but that he may charge "a government official with giving conflicting information to prosecutors."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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