Benczkowski attempted to dismiss Simpson's claim, saying:
In the affidavit, Ms. Simpson claims to have overheard statements she attributes to U.S. Attorney Leura Canary's husband. The national media interpreted the alleged statements as linking the prosecution of former Governor Siegelman to Karl Rove.
At the time Ms. Simpson alleges the purported statements were made, Mr. Siegelman was already under federal investigation. The existence of the investigation had been widely reported in newspapers and television reports, some released more than ten months before the alleged conversation. The alleged conversation described by Ms. Simpson has been denied by all of the alleged participants except Ms. Simpson.
A couple of things to note about this. It says Simpson claims she "overheard" statements, though she actually says she was an active member on a campaign strategy call. And more importantly, Simpson said in her affidavit that the investigation of Siegelman was already underway. DOJ's insistence that the Siegelman probe began before the call does not contradict her set of facts. The question about the seed of that probe remains.
Simpson is set to give closed-door testimony before the House Judiciary Committee Friday.