Miller's decision to use the case as a test of journalists' rights has been criticized even by some media experts, who have questioned whether the sources she and Cooper used were worth protecting.
Critics have noted that in this case, the journalists have not been protecting a principled person exposing wrongdoing -- the usual justification for protecting sources -- but rather someone who might have deliberately endangered a U.S. undercover operative in an act of political retribution.
The special prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, has been investigating the circumstances surrounding a July 14, 2003, column by syndicated journalist Robert Novak that identified Valerie Plame as a CIA agent.
Plame is the wife of Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former diplomat, who eight days earlier had written an article accusing the Bush administration of using faulty intelligence in deciding to wage war in Iraq.
Fitzgerald is investigating the possibility that administration figures leaked Plame's status to Novak and other journalists as retaliation for the article her husband wrote.
Intentionally revealing the identity of a CIA operative is, in some cases, a violation of federal law.
Miller, who never wrote about the case, was subpoenaed by Fitzgerald to testify about conversations she had with "a government official" about Wilson and Plame between the publication of the Wilson article and that of the Novak column. Fitzgerald has asserted that the unnamed official has given a general waiver permitting Miller to testify; the journalist has said she does not believe the waiver was signed voluntarily.
Cooper has been of interest to Fitzgerald because of two articles he wrote after the Novak column appeared, including a July 17, 2003, piece on the Time website in which he asserted that the administration had declared war on Wilson, and that "some government officials have noted to Time in interviews" that Plame was a CIA official.
Rove, Bush's political strategist, has acknowledged speaking with Cooper around that time, but has denied through his lawyer that he revealed Plame's identity or shared confidential information.
Cooper declined Wednesday to say whether he spoke with Rove, or what he was planning to reveal to Fitzgerald, saying he had been asked to keep those conversations private for now.
Though Novak has not commented on the matter, it is believed that he probably spoke to Fitzgerald and the grand jury after his sources gave him permission to do so.
At Wednesday's hearing, Robert Bennett, a lawyer for Miller, argued that she should not be sent to jail because there was no possibility that she would relent and reveal her source, and that her incarceration therefore would be merely punitive.
He also took jabs at Fitzgerald and his team, questioning whether they would ever charge anyone for leaking Plame's identity. "I have this nagging feeling that Judy Miller may be the only person going to jail in this case," Bennett told Hogan. "That would be an absolute tragedy."
"Judy Miller did not commit a crime," Bennett said. "She did not write an article."
When Hogan noted that the law requiring journalists to testify before grand juries was settled by the Supreme Court in 1972, Bennett retorted that the Dred Scott ruling upholding slavery was also on the books for years.
"The law changes," Bennett said.
Miller, addressing Hogan, acknowledged that the judge had a right to send her to jail, but said she could not break her word to her sources.
"I do not want to go to jail, and I hope you will not send me," she said. "But I feel that I have no choice, both as a matter of personal conscience and to stand up for the many who share my views and believe truly in a vigorous and independent press."
Fitzgerald argued that Miller was asking for rights that were not even accorded the most senior law enforcement officials in the country.
Hogan was in no mood to entertain arguments of leniency. He said that, notwithstanding the steadfast claims by Miller that she would never reveal her sources, he was required under the law to see whether imprisonment would have a "coercive" effect on her thinking.
As he announced his judgment, marshals moved into position behind Miller, and when the proceeding concluded, escorted her out a side door. She hugged her lawyers. Her husband gave her a wave from the courtroom gallery.