Saturday :: Oct 1, 2005

Conflicting Questions

by larre

With little time to 'Left Coaster' as much as I'd like, I still manage to keep up with news and rumors. So, now I hear that Judith Iscariot, to use Digby's dig, was sprung from the hoosegow when a clarification from Scooter Libby was found baked in a cake.

Everyone's wondering "What took them so long?" No one's asking the question that would lead directly to an explanation of why Miller caved in:

When was Robert Bennett hired to separately represent Judith Miller?

Floyd Abrams represents the Times and its reporters in First Amendment cases, his specialty. He is very smart. He knows there is always at least a potential conflict of interest between the corporate newspaper/employer and the individual-reporter. The fact that Abrams continued to represent both the NYT and Miller for months can only mean that he was reliably assured by each of them that there was no conflict of interest.

Something changed in the last few months. To speculate intelligently on what that might be you'd have to know when it happened. That is to say, when did Robert Bennett come into the case?

I'm unable to pin down the date. The closest I can come are vague statements like this one in Jack Safer's bland blog at Slate, that "At some point this year, Miller replaced Abrams with Bob Bennett."

For sure, Bennett was representing Miller separately by "late August" when, so we are told, "talks began with a telephone call from Mr. Bennett to Libby's lawyer."

Now, August was a busy month for Judy. Among other things, John Bolton paid her visit. Did he bring the cake with the surprise baked inside? Was it Bennett who sent him?

Supposedly, it was the August telephone conversation that triggered the dawn of understanding on the part of Libby's lawyers that Miller didn't think Libby's waiver of confidentiality was voluntary. That is so highly implausible as to be laughable.

Attorney Abrams is an ethical, learned, experienced, and detail-oriented attorney. It simply isn't credible that he would have misunderstood the terms and voluntariness of any "confidentiality waiver" from Libby over a year's time. His refusal to comment on the subject only strengthens the likelihood that the party line being sung in unison by the NYT, Miller, and Libby's lawyers is a deliberate fabrication.

As Shafer puts it, "If Abrams isn't talking, there's much, much more to say.... ." Beginning with, "what conflict of interest between Abram's clients became so serious that Judith Miller needed her own lawyer?"

larre :: 11:49 AM :: Comments (13) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!