Patrick Fitzgerald has questions -- for Karl Rove's lawyer

CNN says the special prosecutor has deposed Robert Luskin. Why?

Published December 8, 2005 9:24PM (EST)

As we noted earlier today, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald took the deposition of Time reporter Viveca Novak today. That part we expected. What we didn't expect was something that appears a few paragraphs into a CNN report on the Novak deposition: Last week, CNN says, Fitzgerald deposed Karl Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin.

How odd is that? Very. It's not often that a judge will let one lawyer depose the lawyer for an opposing (or potentially opposing) party, and it's probably even less often that a lawyer would volunteer to undergo such a deposition without a court order requiring it.

So how did Luskin find himself on the receiving end of Fitzgerald's questions? We don't know the answer to that yet. We do know that Luskin told Fitzgerald about his conversations with Novak as part of an eleventh-hour effort to keep his client from being indicted back in October. As the Washington Post noted the other day, it has never been clear why Luskin thinks that his conversations with Novak might help Rove. But if he does -- and he wouldn't have told Fitzgerald about the conversations otherwise -- then maybe he wouldn't mind testifying about them himself.

On the other hand, why would Fitzgerald need Luskin's deposition testimony about his conversations -- rather than his more informal descriptions of them -- unless he thought there might be some kind of disconnect between what Luskin was telling him and what Novak would be telling him today?

We've got a lot more questions than answers on this one for now, but they all lead back to what one legal expert told the Post yesterday: The work Fitzgerald is doing now is, at the very least, a sign that his investigation is still active.

By Tim Grieve

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

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