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Memo: Rove's ex-aide would talk if given immunity

Story Highlights

• Memo: Ex-aide has "useful information" about Abramoff, White House officials
• Client has info on outside White House e-mail accounts, too, attorney says
• Ralston quit after revelations she was conduit between Abramoff, White House
• Attorney says Ralston will be "comfortable going forward" if granted immunity
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Susan Ralston, a former top assistant to President Bush's political adviser, Karl Rove, is willing to tell Congress what she knows about contacts between White House officials and disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff -- but only if she's granted immunity from prosecution, her lawyer has told congressional investigators.

During a May 10 deposition with Ralston, her attorney, Bradford Berenson, told investigators for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that she "has material, useful information" about contacts between Abramoff and his associates and White House officials, according to a memo sent to committee members Tuesday by the committee's chairman, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California.

Berenson also said Ralston has useful information about the use of outside Republican National Committee e-mail accounts by White House staffers, which is also the subject of a congressional probe, according to the memo.

However, Ralston will only be "comfortable going forward" if she is given a grant of immunity, Berenson told investigators, according to the memo.

In his memo, Waxman told his colleagues that before considering Ralston's immunity request, "the committee should seek to obtain information about the relationship between Mr. Abramoff and the White House from other sources."

Ralston was Abramoff's executive assistant before coming to work for Rove in 2001. She resigned last October, after revelations that more than half of Abramoff's 66 contacts at the White House during the Bush administration were made through her.

In January 2006, Abramoff pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy, mail fraud and tax evasion, the result of a wide-ranging Capitol Hill influence-peddling probe that has led to charges against several former congressional staffers and former Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio.

Rep. Henry Waxman wrote a memo Tuesday saying that a former aide to Karl Rove has "useful information" about disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.



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