Up to the Grand Jury

Will Fitzgerald issue indictments? Washington and cable news care about nothing else these days. The answer is: No, he won’t. The most Fitzgerald will do is ask his grand jury to issue indictments. It’s really all up to them. Which raises the question: who are they? A federal grand jury has 23 members. A typical Washington, D.C. grand jury is about 75% African American. Fitzgerald’s is slightly more than that. This is not the kind of group Karl Rove feels at home with. He has no professional experience trying to appeal to a group like this. He has been so unsuccessful at it that his boss’s job approval rating with African Americans is now 2%, which, factoring in the margin of error, could actually be zero. To make matters statistically and demographically much worse for Rove and Scooter Libby, only 12 of the 23 grand jurors have to agree to indict them.

There is already a good deal of pundit anguish being spent over how unfair it would be if indictments only cover little things like lying to FBI agents or perjury, violations that today’s New York Times calls “peripheral to the issue” Fitzgerald was appointed to investigate. Federal grand juries are constantly issuing indictments that are peripheral to the issue they were impaneled to consider. The question Rove and Libby are asking themselves today is: Does this seem like the kind of grand jury that is going to think lying to an FBI agent or perjury is a serious crime--unless you work in the White House? I think they know the answer.