News and events revolving around the ousting of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Suspense Builds Over CIA Leak Investigation - Los Angeles Times

By Richard B. Schmitt
Times Staff Writer

3:15 PM PDT, October 26, 2005

WASHINGTON — The CIA leak case continued to build today toward a climactic finish as a grand jury investigating possible wrongdoing by top White House figures met behind closed doors for three hours and the special counsel met privately with the chief judge overseeing the case.

Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald made no announcements about whether he had decided to seek indictments, though speculation was rampant that charges were imminent.

Sources close to the case said they doubted that Fitzgerald would seek to extend the term of the jury, which expires Friday, raising the likelihood of a dramatic denouement soon.

Some lawyers close to the case suggested that Fitzgerald may have already secured at least one indictment but was keeping it under seal until he was ready to announce the results of his 22-month investigation.

One grand juror was overheard telling another juror, "See you Friday," suggesting the possibility that the grand jury would continue to meet up to the last minute.

After the grand jury adjourned for the day, Fitzgerald met for 45 minutes with Chief Judge Thomas Hogan of the U.S. District Court, a court official said. The official declined to comment on what the men discussed.

A federal judge would have to approve the sealing of any indictment. The chief judge of the district would also likely be given advance notice of any planned public announcements affecting the court, such as the arraignments of high-profile defendants.

Fitzgerald has focused attention on powerful White House advisor Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney.

A third possibility was that Fitzgerald was seeking the judge's permission to extend the term of the grand jury. But people close to the case said they considered that unlikely.

Among other factors, they noted that the grand jury that Fitzgerald has been using has already been extended once, and that federal court rules do not provide for further extensions.

At the same time, it was possible that he was discussing with the judge using another grand jury to present his case, these sources said.


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