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One journalist testifies, another subpoenaed again in Plame case

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    News Media Update         WASHINGTON, D.C.         Confidentiality/Privilege    

One journalist testifies, another subpoenaed again in Plame case

  • Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper has been subpoenaed a second time in the Plame leak investigation, while subpoenaed Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus has testified by deposition without revealing his confidential source after the source revealed his or her identity to prosecutors.

Sep. 16, 2004 — Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus testified Wednesday by deposition in the Valerie Plame leak investigation about conversations with a source but still did not reveal the source’s identity. Pincus testified after the source revealed his or her identity to the special prosecutor. His testimony came one day after Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper received another subpoena in the grand jury investigation. Cooper previously gave limited testimony under threat of being jailed for contempt.

Pincus, in a statement, said: “I understand that my source has already spoken to the special prosecutor about our conversation on July 12 [2003], and that the special prosecutor has dropped his demand that I reveal my source. Even so, I will not testify about his or her identity.” Pincus gave the deposition with the approval of the source.

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald issued the second broad subpoena to Cooper just three weeks after he gave limited testimony to the grand jury. Cooper was held in contempt of court Aug. 6 and sentenced to jail for the duration of the investigation for refusing to reveal who his source was for a story on the leak of Plame’s identity to conservative columnist Robert Novak.

The contempt citation was cleared after Cooper agreed to testify Aug. 23 about conversations with Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, Lewis “Scooter” Libby. Libby had waived his confidentiality agreement with Cooper.

Fitzgerald has subpoenaed a number of journalists in the case. In addition to Pincus and Cooper, he also subpoenaed Tim Russert, host of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post and Judith Miller of The New York Times . Russert and Kessler both testified after being released from confidentiality agreements by Libby.

Fitzgerald also subpoenaed telephone records of Miller and Phillip Shenon, also of the Times , in an unrelated Chicago investigation into the leak of information regarding a terrorism funding investigation. Pincus has also been subpoenaed in a Privacy Act lawsuit filed by former Department of Energy scientist Wen Ho Lee.

(In re Special Counsel Investigation; Media Counsel: Floyd Abrams, Cahill, Gordon & Reindel, LLP, New York City) GP

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