The Associated Press now has its own law-enforcement source stating that Mary-Kate Olsen is demanding immunity before she will talk with federal agents investigating the January death of actor Heath Ledger, as the Post reported this morning. The immunity request is now all but confirmed. Olsen's attorney didn't bother to deny it in a statement addressing a number of other questions raised by the Post story, such as whether Olsen helped Ledger procure OxyContin:
Despite tabloid speculation, Mary-Kate Olsen had nothing whatsoever to do with the drugs found in Heath Ledger's home or his body, and she does not know where he obtained them.
Regarding the Government's investigation, at Ms. Olsen's request, we have provided the Government with relevant information including facts in the chronology of events surrounding Mr. Ledger's death and the fact that Ms. Olsen does not know the source of the drugs Mr. Ledger consumed.
We don't know the source of the information being quoted in the media regarding the Government's inquiry, but these descriptions are incomplete and inaccurate.
Interesting that Olsen is requesting immunity from the Drug Enforcement Administration while denying so many possible drug charges! Of course, a media release is not a binding legal declaration, despite the fact that it was issued by the actress' attorney.
But the breadth of her public denial, and the likely damage to her reputation if it was later found to be false, do make it seem unlikely Olsen has a connection to the drugs that killed Ledger, and make it at least less likely that her bodyguards tampered with the crime scene.
Which raises the inevitable question, why does Olsen need immunity?
It could plausibly be significant that Olsen denies a connection to only those drugs found at the home and in Ledger's body, such as OxyContin. If she imagines herself being questioned more broadly about Ledger's use of other drugs, and on how he procured those, immunity would be useful in providing answers involving Olsen using recreational narcotics (however innocuous) along with Ledger, or in providing answers involving Olsen putting Ledger in touch with someone who might have later, unbeknownst to Olsen, supplied him with OxyContin or other drugs.
It's hard to imagine many of Olsen or Ledger's fans getting very upset if the actress wants immunity so she can avoid being questioned about the drugs that didn't kill Heath Ledger. Who wants to get tied up in an investigation into recreational celebrity drug use that's going to shed little, if any, new light on Ledger's death? In that sense, the carefully written, just-broad-enough statement from Olsen's lawyers does a brilliant job of shoring up the actress' reputation while keeping the authorities at arm's length.
UPDATE: As the Post notes, the AP story also quotes an anonymous official stating the feds have a subpoena that "could force" Olsen to appear before a grand jury if negotiations fall through. "Could?" Sounds constrained. If the feds can compel the testimony they need, why would they bother negotiating?