The reporter for Time magazine who recently agreed to testify in the CIA leak case is central to White House senior adviser Karl Rove's effort to fend off an indictment in the two-year-old investigation, according to two people familiar with the situation.
Viveca Novak, who has written intermittently about the leak case for Time, has been asked to provide sworn testimony to Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald in the next few weeks after Rove attorney Robert Luskin told Fitzgerald about a conversation he had with her, the two sources said.
It's not clear why Luskin believes Novak's deposition could help Rove, President Bush's deputy chief of staff, who remains under investigation into whether he provided false statements in the case. But a person familiar with the matter said Luskin cited his conversations with Novak in persuading Fitzgerald not to indict Rove in late October, when the prosecutor brought perjury and obstruction-of-justice charges against Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.
"This is what caused [Fitzgerald] to hold off on charging" Rove, the source said. But another person familiar with the conversations said they did not appear to significantly alter the case.
Luskin presented evidence, including details of his own conversations with Novak, to Fitzgerald at a secret meeting at a downtown law office shortly before Libby was indicted on Oct. 28, according to a source familiar with the case.
It could not be learned what Luskin and Novak, who are friends, discussed that could help prove Rove did nothing illegal in the leaking of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity to reporters and the subsequent investigation of it.
Um, so Viveca Novak's been covering this story and she's friends with Rove's lawyer?
You know what to do, folks, CONVENE THE BLOGGER ETHICS PANEL STAT!