Judge Lifts Contempt of Court Citation for Miller


By E&P Staff
Published: October 12, 2005 8:45 PM ET

NEW YORK Judith Miller's second appearance before the grand jury probing the Plame/CIA leak case on Wednesday lasted only a little more than an hour but it was enough to earn a judge's order releasing The New York Times reporter from the contempt-of-court citation that landed her in jail.

The order was still in place until her testimony was complete.

Besides liberating Miller, it also means The New York Times can no longer cite that order as a roadblock to keep it from presenting a full accounting of related matters.

"I am delighted that the contempt order has been lifted, and Judy is now completely free to go about her great reporting as a very principled and honorable reporter," said Robert Bennett, one of Miller's attorneys.

Bill Keller, executive editor of the Times, had said in a letter to newsroom staffers on Tuesday that once Ms. Miller's "obligations to the grand jury are fulfilled, we intend to write the most thorough story we can...." He also criticized "armchair critics" and those who had spread rumors and "myths" about the case.

A New York Times spokeswoman told E&P the paper had no comment about Wednesday's proceedings and would not say when any major article would appear.

A report by Reuters' Adam Entous on Wednesday raised the issue of the waiver received by Miller from her source, I. Lewis Libby. Entous wonders if that waiver had only applied to the two July 2003 conversations that he had with Miller; perhaps he did not mean for it to apply to the June 23, 2003, talk that she discussed today with the grand jury.

That leaves Karl Rove, the White House, to testify this week, for the fourth time. Thursday appears to be the likely date and Fitzgerald may move quickly after that to produce indictments.

Meanwhile, appearing on MSNBC's "Hardball," Mike Allen of The Washington Post said officials inside the White House are readying this legal defense: the Valerie Plame information came from the press to them, not the other way around. One problem: Some people at the State Department (including Colin Powell) may have testified that the White House specifically requested information about Plame.