Luskin’s Word Parsing Suggests Rove Is A Target

Previously, Robert Luskin, Karl Rove’s lawyer, has insisted that Rove was no a target of the leak investigation. From the Washington Post, 10/6/05:

Robert Luskin said, Fitzgerald assured him in October and again last week that Rove is not a target of his investigation.

Today, Luskin has a different talking point:

I can say categorically that Karl has not received a target letter from the special counsel.


This is significant because, while U.S. Attorneys normally informs someone of their status as a target with a letter, they are not required to do so. Rove could have been warned he is a target with a phone call or an in-person warning. Here’s a relevant section of the USDOJ Guidelines (Ch. 7, Section 1, Part 1):

As the grand jury investigation concludes…attorneys will usually inform counsel for potential defendants of the status of the investigation. In most instances, potential individual defendants will be sent a letter identifying the individual as a target of that investigation, i.e., one who may be considered for indictment.

The fact that Luskin has changed his talking point suggests that Rove is now a target and has recieved a target warning by some means other than a letter. Indeed, the AP reports prosecutors “have warned they cannot guarantee [Rove] won’t be indicted.”

The real question Luskin needs to be asked: Has Rove received a target warning of any kind?

UPDATE: The above is excerpted from guidelines created for the antitrust division which are relevant but not directly applicable to the Rove case. Directly applicable is Section 9–11.151 of the Grand Jury manual, which also indicates that notification by letter is not required.