Judy Miller remembers Mr. Jimmy

Judy Miller is the former New York Times reporter and author of the gripping memoir The Story. We hosted Judy for three days this past summer; I read her memoir to get a better handle on her distinguished career and the Pulitzer Prize she picked up along the way.

I couldn’t put the book down. Judy is a meticulous reporter of diverse interests and a natural storyteller as well. The book is compelling on these grounds alone.

Yet the book has a hook. Judy was a prominent victim of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald’s disgraceful investigation of the Plame leak during the administration of George W. Bush. She famously went to prison for 85 days to protect the identity of Scooter Libby as a source and resist the subpoena of her notebooks.

Fitzgerald, it turns out, is a scoundrel several times over. In a most surprising conclusion of the memoir, Judy deduces that she erred in her testimony against Libby. As Peter Berkowitz puts it in his appreciation of the book, Judy “offers reasons to conclude that Fitzgerald misled her into giving what she now understands to have been erroneous testimony that helped Fitzgerald in 2007 secure a conviction of Libby for obstruction of justice, making a false statement, and perjury.” Peter isolated this strand of the book in his Wall Street Journal column “The false evidence against Scooter Libby.”

Judy’s account of her time in prison is harrowing. She lost 30 pounds in those 85 days. One comes away from this part of the story detesting Fitzgerald, but also with a renewed and deepened disrespect for the powers that be at the Times as well.

Reading her memoir, I was astounded to learn that Judy is the younger sister of the rock producer Jimmy Miller. Putting George Martin to one side, Jimmy Miller’s name appears as the producer on just about every rock album that is among my favorites. Coincidentally, the last CD I bought before we hosted Judy this summer was the new four-CD edition of Delaney & Bonnie & Friends On Tour With Eric Clapton. Jimmy Miller’s name appears on it as the producer.

Judy has a moving account of her relationship with Jimmy in the memoir. I only wanted more and certainly did my best to extract it from Judy in the time we spent together. On the twenty-fifth anniversary of Jimmy’s death Judy now remembers Jimmy in the Tablet column “Mr. Jimmy,” also posted here at Judy’s personal site. Highly recommended.