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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Rove's Lawyer Is Pulling the Wool Over Our Eyes

Karl Rove's attorney says the former Bush White House strategist already is cooperating with Department of Justice (DOJ) officials regarding the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman and will cooperate with an inquiry into the firings of nine U.S. attorneys.

Robert Luskin, Rove's attorney, appears to be pulling an elaborate ruse, and one can only wonder if he hoodwinked TPM Muckraker's Murray Waas, the highly respected reporter who broke the story yesterday.

Alabama Web journalist Glynn Wilson provides a superb overview of what Luskin is trying to pull at his Locust Fork World News & Journal Web site.

Waas' story makes it sound as if Rove is happy to shine light on everything this side of the Bourne Conspiracy. But the story is filled with holes and does not ask some obvious questions.

For example, Luskin claims that Rove already has cooperated with the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) in the Siegelman prosecution. But we are left asking these questions:

* Who precisely did Rove "cooperate" with at OPR?

* Was it someone appointed by Bush or placed into a career position by the Bush administration?

* What does "cooperate" mean? Does that entail Rove taking questions under oath, with a court reporter present?

* Rove supposedly is "cooperating" regarding the Siegelman prosecution. But no one has suggested that Rove took part in the actual Siegelman prosecution. Rather, he is alleged to have helped set it in motion. Was Rove asked under oath about actions he took that led to the Siegelman prosecution?

* Rove supposedly does not plan to claim any "personal privilege." What in the heck does personal privilege mean here? That term usually is used in association with members of an assembly, such as Congress or another legislative body. How would such a privilege apply to Rove? Is Luskin throwing this term around to create confusion?

* If Rove is so happy to "cooperate" with OPR, why is he so reluctant to "cooperate" with John Conyers and the U.S. House Judiciary Committee?

At Locust Fork News, Wilson reveals that Luskin is a liberal and that he and Waas are long-time friends. Did Luskin use his friend to benefit a client (Rove) in a desperate position? Did Waas allow himself, and TPM Muckraker, to be used? Is Waas reeling Luskin in, with plans to reveal him as a shyster in future stories?

Wilson notes that OPR hardly could be called an "objective fact finder" in the Siegelman matter. OPR representatives have been talking to a number of individuals in north Alabama in an apparent attempt to smear Rainsville lawyer and Republican whistleblower Jill Simpson.

If Rove "cooperated" with anyone at OPR it probably was the type of folks who are trying to dig up nonexistent dirt on Simpson. After all, it was Simpson who testified under oath that Republican operatives connected to Rove were behind the Siegelman prosecution.

Priscilla Duncan, Simpson's attorney, tells Wilson the "rest of the story" version of what's going on with Rove and OPR. Luskin, she says, is "playing with us" and also playing fast and loose with the facts. Of course, he is free to do that when dealing with a reporter.

“Lawyers are free to lie to the press, but can lose their license if they lie in court and get caught,” Duncan said.

Wilson, with Duncan's help, shows us how clever Luskin is trying to be:

Luskin then insists that Rove doesn’t know anything about the Siegelman prosecution, she said.

“Did he know about the preliminary discussions that led to it? Did he talk with Leura Canary, his former partner’s wife? Or Alice Martin? We don’t know whether they’ve been invited to testify or not, but the committee’s subpoenas are a long and tortured process.”

Wilson and Duncan then get to the bottom line about Rove's supposed "cooperation." And as an example of Rove's wily ways, Duncan provides intriguing background about the 60 Minutes story on the Siegelman case:

In all that cooperation Luskin says Bush and Rove are so eager to give, she adds, “there is not one hint that it will be 1) under oath or 2) recorded. In other words, it’s the same ‘poison whisper’ campaign he offered the Judiciary Committee last year.”

“Rove’s entire career is to plant juicy stories with pliant media to steer the coverage away from him by implying that they are missing a much bigger story,” she said.

“Jill and I went through a full bore of Rove’s trivia with 60 Minutes when he called and visited their offices trying to plant all kinds of false suggestions about Jill to stop the Siegelman story. It’s the main reason the show was delayed from November to March — Rove’s lies made CBS executives nervous, and they needed the extra time to track down and debunk every horrid little story,” she said.

“If you recall, he never would appear on film for CBS 60 Minutes or be interviewed about Siegelman. He just wanted to poison the well, as apparently he is doing now."

What should happen now that an Obama Justice Department is being put into place? Duncan has some ideas:

“Better we get a special prosecutor and cut to the chase,” she said. “Conyers has gone about as far as he can go with this. If Rove does show up, Jill and I are expecting a barrage of filth and criminal accusations from him, as the much-promised OPR investigation appears to have nothing at all to do with investigating the prosecutors but has focused on trying to destroy her credibility. It is probably good that that report has not been issued, as it would most assuredly be sheltering the Bush appointees whose actions were called into question.”

In essence, Duncan says, Rove is like a basketball coach trying to work the clock:

“Don’t be misled by suggestions of some investigative panel, the statute of limitations is running on the most prosecutable offenses, indeed it has on the 2002 events,” she concluded. “The diddling is paying off.”

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