The Expanding Judy File

The Judy File expands. A well-connected media source e-mailed to say that the most interesting development on the Miller story is coming from inside the Times: "I gather that Doug Jehl, who is a dogged and respected reporter, has been assigned to do an in-house investigative report for the Times and that he is already cutting pretty close to the bone. Several editors he has spoken to are now asking themselves why there wasn't more questioning of whether Miller's silence reflects a fear of incriminating herself rather than betraying a source. I predict this will start to unravel in the next couple of weeks -- if only because the Times is afraid of getting scooped again by outside rivals." A different source within the Times confirmed that Jehl is indeed on the story, having been given the assignment not from New York but from the paper's Washington bureau. And the Plamegate story he filed last week shows that he isn't afraid to step on the toes of his bosses. Stay tuned.

Speaking of the Times' Washington bureau, according to another source within the Times, the DC office has put in a dedicated phone line specifically for the purpose of receiving Judy's collect calls from prison -- which are then forwarded to whoever it is she wants to talk to. It's been dubbed "the Judy Line." No word on whether the number is 1-800-4-MARTYR.

One of the more intriguing tips directed me to Miller"s lawyers' motion [pdf] seeking home detention -- and to Fitzgerald"s response [pdf]. The question was whether Miller might have opened the door to more trouble with Fitzgerald by invoking the ill health of her 76-year-old husband, Jason Epstein, when trying to convince Judge Hogan to let her serve her time at home. The fact that after Judy was sent to jail, Epstein headed off on a Mediterranean cruise, led my e-mailer to suggest: "When Fitzgerald and Hogan find out about the cruise, Miller could get hit with a separate contempt charge for misleading the court -- judges and prosecutors do not take that kind of thing lightly." It's hard to say whether Miller was misleading the court since the parts of her motion relating to her husband's health have been marked "confidential" and filed under seal. However, the non-confidential part says: "Also relevant to consider is the health of Ms. Miller's 76-year-old husband." Why would it be relevant if it wasn't being used to stop the judge from sending Judy to jail? And glean what you will from Fitzgerald's acid response: "We do not dispute the accuracy of the sealed filings concerning Miller's health conditions, nor those concerning her husband. Suffice it to say, however, who can handle the desert in wartime is far better equipped than the average person jailed in a federal facility.... Miller could avoid even a minute of separation from her husband if she would do no more than just follow the law like every other citizen in America is required to do." [Emphasis added]

During a conversation with Gore Vidal (more about that tomorrow) we talked about the fact that we had both heard from different people that Judy was planning to start writing a book about her experiences in the Plame case while in jail. "De Profundis it's not going to be," Vidal said, referring to Oscar Wilde's jailhouse classic. "More like De Shallow-undis."

Gore also made the point that Miller had continued to carry water for her neocon chums right up until her incarceration. The last articles she wrote before going to jail -- about Kofi Annan and that neocon bugaboo, the UN -- stand as an example of sloppy and slanted journalism that required two Times corrections, one of them an entire article. For chapter and verse on this, look here and here.

Then there is the e-mail I received from a Judy File-ophile regarding "the truly burning question" about Miller. It too involved her husband and his Mediterranean vacation. "Here's what I want to know," my e-mailer wrote: "Who is taking care of the cockapoodle that Judy gave Jason so that he would have company when she went to jail?"

Fear not: we'll leave no stone -- or kennel receipt -- unturned to bring you the answer.