Memeorandum


Powered by TypePad

« Al Gore III And His Prius | Main | Rita And Libby »

July 04, 2007

Comments

Rick Ballard

"The integrity of the judicial process depends on fact-finding and truth-telling."

Hmmmm...

The integrity of the judicial process depends on fact-finding and truth-telling beginning with investigators keeping complete and honest records, prosecutors making a determination as to whether any law has, in fact, been broken and judges acting with impartial indifference concerning bring all relevant facts before juries.

There, that's better.

PeterUK.

It would also have less reprehensible if all the witnesses had been treated the same.Might be an improvement if those who are interrogated are allowed to see their own notes,because,quite frankly, evidence based purely on witnesses memory is entering Salem territory.
There needs to be some connection between,legality,morality and sanity,in this case there was none.

TexasToast

A President that finds this sentence "harsh" supports mandatory sentencing in most federal crimes. See TalkLeft.

"He made this decision just weeks after he had the Attorney General send his minions to Congress to argue that every federal offense should carry a mandatory minimum sentence from which a Judge cannot depart. In other words, for every other defendant in America, Bush wants to preclude judges from exercising discretion and require them to sentence according to a mathematical formula. Libby, on the other hand, gets a free pass because the Judge didn't exercise the discretion Bush thinks Judges in other cases ought not to have."

Morality? Sanity?

PeterUK.

"Morality? Sanity?"

How would you know Texas Taqqiya,you're a liberal lefty.
There was enough that stank about the prosecution in this case,Libby was a cipher for the Invasion in Iraq,all you pacifists have been baying for blood ever since day one.
You also seem to be pushing the latest canard that Libby has not been punished,that is a lie.Libby is on parole,has been fined and his legal career is down the toilet,not enough for you?

windansea

I defer to constitutional authority Conyers

“Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to what is clearly a politically motivated and totally senseless resolution. We are a Nation of laws, and if any matter is abundantly clear by our Constitution, it is that the President has the sole and unitary power to grant clemency. Is there any Member that does not understand that? Every President has the sole and unitary power to grant clemency…Now the reason that he has the power to grant clemency is that it is that the President is uniquely positioned to consider the law and the facts that apply in each request for clemency.”

Barry
"In other words, for every other defendant in America, Bush wants to preclude judges from exercising discretion and require them to sentence according to a mathematical formula."

The "mathematical formula" includes the possibility of a presidential sentence commutation or pardon. Are you suggesting we should change the constitution or are you just displaying sour grapes?

windansea

more congressional investigations!

Just 16% of American voters now say that Congress is doing a Good (14%) or an Excellent (2%) job. That’s down from 19% in mid-June and from 26% at the end of May. Today, 35% say Congress is doing a Fair job while 46% say Poor

Which means President Bush is three times as popular as Harry Reid and The Granda With The Gavel. Suck on that mandate sixteen-percenters!

HT PoliPundit

DubiousD

Hat-tip today's Macsmind:

“Former President Bill Clinton criticized President Bush on Tuesday for commuting the prison sentence of I. Lewis Libby Jr. and tried to draw a distinction from his own controversial pardons...

In Iowa to promote the presidential candidacy of his wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Mr. Clinton was asked by a radio host, David Yepsen, “You had some controversial pardons during your presidency; what’s your reaction to what President Bush did?”

“Yeah, but I think the facts were different,” Mr. Clinton said. “I think there are guidelines for what happens when somebody is convicted. You’ve got to understand, this is consistent with their philosophy; they believe that they should be able to do what they want to do, and that the law is a minor obstacle.”

“It’s wrong to out that C.I.A. agent and wrong to try to cover it up,” Mr. Clinton added. “And no one was ever fired from the White House for doing it.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/04/us/politics/04clintons.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

(I'm not too hip on this Typepad business, how do I render an URL so it appears as a clickable link?)

TexasToast

A Republican Assistant AG appointed a Republican US Atty to investigate the leak of the clasified ID of a CIA agent. Mr. Libby is tried before a judge appointed by a Republican who imposed a sentence within the federal sentencing guidelines.

Not a democrat withing shouting distance and this is somehow a "... cipher for the invasion of Iraq" which, of course, justifies a commutation that avoids jail time but preserves appellate rights and leaves Mr. Libby in legal "jeopardy", thus preserving his fifth amendment rights not to testify against himself (and by inferential extention, his superiors).

Nope, its not enough.

windansea

Nope, its not enough.

tough mamaries

Barry

Why don't you read what the jurors said TT. Perhaps then you could understand what these folks convicted for.

windansea

hmmm..how bout a Rudy/Hillary debate on pardons

President Clinton's pardons have been a political issue for Hillary Clinton because of her ties to a number of the cases. In addition to the people who paid her brothers, those receiving pardons included commodities trader Marc Rich, a fugitive who was prosecuted for tax evasion by then-US Attorney Rudolph Giuliani and fled to Switzerland. Rich was pardoned after his former wife, Denise Rich, contributed heavily to Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign.

Jane

I think it is rather sweet to see the left object - on every ground they can think of to this commutation. It's funny to see them give a shit about the law and justice when they cared not a whit when Libby was being railroaded.

The shoe seems to be on the other foot today.

SunnyDay

When the Prez acts like he's got some brass nutz his popularity goes up.

Waving his cowboy hat isn't enough. Standing up to these jerk*** counts with a whole lot of people. He's been letting them push him around. Most of America wants him to lead, and most of America wants to WIN. We don't like losers and we don't like losing.

Go Bush!! No more Mr. Nice Guy. It's pointless.

SunnyDay

hmmm..how bout a Rudy/Hillary debate on pardons

*********************

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

PeterUK.

"Not a democrat withing shouting distance and this is somehow a "... cipher for the invasion of Iraq"

Oh dear more liberaloid denseness,it is a cipher to YOU and the rest of the hive.

RalphL

"It handed down a very supportable verdict"

I'm surprised to hear that from the Washington Times.

Other Tom

As I've been saying from the beginning, the very best part of what Bush did is the helpless rage it inspires in so many people I don't like.

What a glorious way to celebrate the Fourth: a hat tip to the wisdom of the Framers in providing for absolute pardon authority in the executive. What goes around comes around.

Other Tom

Wonder if Clinton distinguished any of the following cases:

"Clinton also pardoned carnival operators Edgar and Vonna Jo Gregory. How did carnival operators get on his radar? Turns out they had loaned Hillary's brother, Tony Rodham, $107,000, which he never repaid. He didn't have to, as it turns out. Clinton stamped that debt 'paid in full' with his pardons.

"Then there was Carlos Vignali, a cocaine trafficker whose sentence Clinton commuted. And Almon Glenn Braswell, who was found guilty of mail fraud and perjury but won a pardon.

"Why the pardon? Braswell and Vignali each paid Hillary's other brother, Hugh Rodham, $200,000, hoping he could win them clemency. Rodham returned the money, but only after the scandal became public.

"Remember Marc Rich? He was pardoned for tax evasion. His ex-wife, Denise Rich, made substantial gifts to the Clinton library and to Hillary's senatorial campaign. Think there was a connection?"

And not a Republican in sight, for whatever that's worth...

PeterUK.

Other Tom,
No problem in that they are Democrats,re-distribution of wealth and all that.

Sbwaters

This morning my wife asked me: So why do you pay such close attention to the Libby case?

Because, although I had no particular interest in the case, I discovered repeated and persistent misbehavior undertaken by multiple parties in the CIA, the Justice Department, the Congress, the courts, and, in particular, the national press, simply to take down an elected official with whose politics they opposed.

Picking one example, I described Russert's posturing after already having talked to the FBI -- to the disinterest of the officers of the court and the press.

She sees my point.

Jane

SBW,

It would be impossible for anyone who doesn't have an agenda, not to.

maryrose

Never have I been more convinced of the Clintons's stupidity than I am today. His egregious pardons especially of known fugitive Marc Rich reek to high heaven. Fortunately for the Clintons we are a nation of amnesiacs who can't recall injustices that occurrred at the the hands of these two grifters. Their making comments now only brings up their own misbehavior! Stupid is as stupid does...

SMGalbraith

Porque tu quoque?

For the life of me I can't understand the defense of Bush's actions by citing the unpardonable (ahem) actions by Clinton.

Libby should have seen some jail time. His actions were deemed criminal. The system - despite all of its flaws - worked.

Stick with principles, not people (he smugly declaimed while mounting his white horse to ride off into the sunset after having saved the Republic for another day).

SMG

cboldt

-- I can't understand the defense of Bush's actions by citing the unpardonable (ahem) actions by Clinton. --

Don't understand it? or don't approve of a "we're no worse than them" line of defense?

-- The system - despite all of its flaws - worked. --

The prevailing conclusion here is opposite. The system did NOT work, it failed.

windansea

The prevailing conclusion here is opposite. The system did NOT work, it failed.

I think most people here believe in the rule of law and the system in general, but feel Fitz abused his powers by not conducting an ethical investigation.

Besides, the "system" also includes Presidential pardons and commutations, so I think it's still working.

Rick Ballard

I think it's "Quamobrem tu quoque?", SMG but "I am but an egg" regarding Latin.

No principles were involved in this matter from H hour D day until this minute - why in the world would they be introduced at this late moment?

It's all pure politics and if you pulled tu quoque out of politics it wouldn't be much fun at all.

Carol_Herman

It's almost like a religious experience;

What with giving Fitzpatrick the name Fitzmas; and all that that implies.

To watching different sides still duking it out. (Well, isn't the same crap played on Roe every day?) We've trained lawyers into believing "NOBODY WINS." And, we've trained them to disrespect the text of the US Constitution.

By the way, blowhards, Abraham Lincoln was ALWAYS balancing his ability at communting sentences. There are markers down that the US Constitution got played with ... during the twenty year period that pre-dates the Civil War. (Definitely not a good example of civility, either.) And, the origins of PC speech might even go to the South; with the invention of calling their loss, "the recent unpleasantness."

Anyway, to those who had championed "a lighter sentence" for this travesty, I guess giving Dreyfus the punishment of wearing pants with only one leg; leaving his other exposed, also would have sounded preferable to the pounding truth brings to the table.

As to our misunderestimated president; he does play this "long game" rather well. And, "if" he had sided with Waltoon, which I'm sure he doesn't; then I guess the left would cry ... but less so? How does that work? Is it like choosing between Hllary and Obama?

The whole trial was a travesty. IF Bush had an orator's tongue; and didn't fear Nixon's fate; I suppose he could have played his cards differently?

But to have Bush "acknowledge" ... beyond his throw away sentence, towards the "jury's verdict," blah, blah, blah. Bush wasn't going to mar the judicial robed wonders, fighting ahead.

Let them lift their skirts. Let's see who wants to do a Taney?

Too bad you've got such dysfunction up on the Supreme-O's; given how Anthony Kennedy now feels NOT being made the Pope-oola Chief. And, I do expect him to continuously spit on John Roberts.

Other than that what's the use of all that clashing wallpaper? Hardly has glue to the structure to hang for long; when the best you can do is just keep splitting and spitting decisions.

Meanwhile, Libby's practically home. A few more rounds (paid for by lobbying for funds), will give this turkey a bigger chance to keep on being an issue. Long past the time it should'a been put to bed.

As if we don't have enough going on with our war; we have idiots like John Edwards trying to profit from his wife's cancer; and the sale of bumper stickers. Not quite the medicine that's needed, yet, either.

Cecil Turner

Not a democrat withing shouting distance and this is somehow a "... cipher for the invasion of Iraq" . . .

You left out the fact that the actual leaker was a Republican (anti-war type). Strange bedfellows. Pretending this isn't inextricably linked to the go-to-war decision (and the risible "Bush lied" claims from the left), however, is wrong.

Besides, the "system" also includes Presidential pardons and commutations, so I think it's still working.

I think this particular case rates a pardon, so I'm rather less impressed. But there's no gainsaying the salutary political effect of commutation (vs pardon), so perhaps it's for the best.

SMGalbraith

Rick:
No principles were involved in this matter from H hour D day until this minute - why in the world would they be introduced at this late moment?

Sorry, again at the risk of sounding holier than thou, I'm rejecting the Fitzgerald, Walton, Clinton (where does the list end?) et al. acted unprincipled and therefore that exonerates Bush from acting without principle.

It seems to me that Libby too acted unprincipled. More sinned against than sinner? Perhaps, but still a sinner. No angels here.

Somewhere on this train of unprincipled actions, someone has to pull the chord and stop things.

SMG

SMGalbraith

Don't understand it? or don't approve of a "we're no worse than them" line of defense?

I don't understand the point. Some very smart people here arguing, if I comprehend their argument, that Clinton's abuses (far greater than this act by Bush, to be sure) somehow justifies (mitigates? permits? allows? what?) the commutation of Libby's sentence.

The prevailing conclusion here is opposite. The system did NOT work, it failed.

Ah, but the "system" isn't a popularity contest. Trials, the system in this case, aren't determined by polling the populace and a 50%+1 outcome determines whether the system works or not.

As I noted above, was Libby more "sinned against than sinner"? Probably.

Was he a sinner? Indeed, he was.

Unlike our liberal/left friends, I wouldn't enjoy or take pleasure in seeing him sent to prison. But to prison he should have gone.

Say six months; pardon him on Christmas/Hannukah to see his children and family.

SMG

windansea

Somewhere on this train of unprincipled actions, someone has to pull the chord and stop things.

the guy with the biggest hammer just did

PeterUK.

"Libby should have seen some jail time. His actions were deemed criminal. The system - despite all of its flaws - worked."

It is because of the system can and does fail that many countries abolished the death sentence.

Carol_Herman

There's only one reality. It was within the scope of presidential powers for this president to act.

I'm sure he meant to keep Libby out of jail. Period. Why he didn't recommend that Armitage take the jail time, instead, I have no idea?

Oh, I know. Armitage, who leaked, and who did not come forward to tell the president that he had done so; is getting the pass.

Books are gonna be written about this legal fest. Perhaps they'll wait till the presidential results for 2008 are in?

Then, of course, to keep Americans interested in "fixing things," so that they keep on voting; we'll have to see to it to up the number of voters every two years.

There's a process of goal setting, involved.

Meanwhile, with Bush's "halp" ... and working with Teddy Kennedy, too; Bush managed to swamp McCain's bit for the presidency. How bad is that?

While, today, most Americans are out celebrating. Hope no family fights develop over this issue. Given that liquor and anger hardly mix; and there's many a dysfunctional family who take sides.

We've got to teach people how to laugh more.

cboldt

-- t seems to me that Libby too acted unprincipled. --

Some regulars here see ZERO unprincipled action by Libby (he told the truth about his awareness), and the prevailing opinion is that even if his actions were shy of perfection, the conviction was procured via prosecutorial misconduct, e.g., a misapplication of law that requires materiality in order to proceed,
or an abuse of prosecutorial discretion.

Bill in AZ

sbw: "This morning my wife asked me: So why do you pay such close attention to the Libby case?"

For me it's because it is another prong in the multipronged effort mounted by certain nefarious characters to derail a presidential election. Another prong was the TANG memos disaster which didn't go so well for them. I have always suspected a common genesis for both of these as well as several other less known attempts to derail an American election (downing street?).

Unfortunately, this particular prong was the genesis of the completely false "Bush Lied, People Died" meme which lives today as absolute truth for a majority of Americans. Even if they don't understand or pay attention, or even if they do, most Americans have some vague impression that Bush lied at some level to get us into Iraq. Thank Joe Wilson - liar - for that.

I have the highest level of contempt for anyone who is involved in perpetuating this because they do it knowingly. That would be all of MSM, the so-called "prosecutor" in this case, the so-called "judge" in this case, the senators, reps, etc who are complicit in their silence - well, hell, pretty much all of government including the alphabet agencies who are directly or indirectly involved. Can't forget the shadow CIA (Scary Larry) who's paw prints are all over this as well.

windansea

I don't understand the point. Some very smart people here arguing, if I comprehend their argument, that Clinton's abuses (far greater than this act by Bush, to be sure) somehow justifies (mitigates? permits? allows? what?) the commutation of Libby's sentence.

speaking for myself only, I throw out the Clinton pardons just to refute the Conyers of the world

I defend Bush's commutation because I think Fitz was unethical in his investigation and basically created a perjury trap as he had nothing else. I also defend it because it is perfectly legal, part of our system of law. I may be mistaken but I think W has used this presidential perogative less than any president in my lifetime.


PeterUK.

"Trials, the system in this case, aren't determined by polling the populace and a 50%+1 outcome determines whether the system works or not."

Ah but in essence,that is exactly what a trial by jury is,some lawyer gets to win a beauty contest.
Libby was accuse of perjury and obstruction,he was tried and sentenced as an "Enemy of the State"

manys


windansea:
>Nope, its not enough.

tough mamaries

Alas, that doesn't stanch the flow of those getting all Ruby Ridge over Armitage.

Sbwaters

Ya know... compared to chch16, Carol Herman is almost poetry.

Barry

Earlier, in another thread, someone posted Dershowitz's comment. He basically said the whole trial was political including the commutation. The president was the only one who had the right, under the constitution, to make the political decision.

I think I'm coming around to the commutation rather than pardon. Bush now has the opportunity to piss off the left twice.

Cecil Turner

It is because of the system can and does fail that many countries abolished the death sentence.

No kidding. I find this travesty is affecting my opinion on the death penalty (I support the imposition for cases involving heinous murders, but not if there's a significant false positive rate).

I believe the most likely explanation in the Libby case is that he misremembered the critical phone call (and either was fascinated by the fact that Cooper knew all about it when he spoke to him on the 12th, or was surprised to hear about it from Woodward on either of the June 17th or 23rd conversations, or from Novak on July 8th). Any of those very common memory failures could explain the remaining flaws in his testimony, which basically revolved around his adamant--but likely mistaken--belief that he'd heard it from Russert on the 10th.

Regardless of whether it's most likely or not, it's certainly not a close question of whether or not there's reasonable doubt. There is. Nobody can be expected to accurately recall unimportant side issues of phone conversations three months on. And in fact nobody did. Seeing this converted into a perjury charge is a miscarriage of justice. Allowing it to be heard before a predominantly Democrat (and presumably anti-war) jury, and allowing the introduction of blatantly prejudicial (and in many cases admittedly false) news articles, is doubly so. I'm not terribly surprised over the verdict, but pretending it's infallible is risible.

Stobo Blobo

windansea-

I think most people here believe in the rule of law and the system in general, but feel Fitz abused his powers by not conducting an ethical investigation.

Besides, the "system" also includes Presidential pardons and commutations, so I think it's still working.

The truth of what you are saying cannot be emphasized too much, can it? It's funny watching the liberals go apoplectic as they ignore it! What Bush has done is really no different than a cop writing out a warning instead of a ticket-the cop isn't violating the law by not giving the law-breaking speeder a ticket, is he?

Whether it was wise for Bush to have acted the way he did is the real question. I don't think he should have stepped in to do anything beyond allowing Libby to remain free for the duration of the appeals process.

Rick Ballard

SMG,

There were no principles involved in the AG authorizing a subordinate (who had been whipped to a standstill by Libby in the Rich matter in SDNY) to create ex nihilo an office, the basis for which cannot be found in statute, and appoint to it a "close friend" who, mirabile dictu, had also been whipped to a standstill by Libby in the Rich matter in SDNY, to act as an unsupervised prosecutor.

I sincerely doubt that any of the Founders would cotton to the concept of unsupervised prosecutors with axes to grind running around in pursuit of "justice". After all, they did have some experience with that very situation.

Jane

Say six months; pardon him on Christmas/Hannukah to see his children and family.

That's just gratuitous.

JM Hanes

SMG:

"For the life of me I can't understand the defense of Bush's actions by citing the unpardonable (ahem) actions by Clinton."

Most of the citations I've seen have not been floated to justify Bush's communtation but have come in response to claims that it represents an unprecedented Presidential assault on the rule-of-law, etc.

cboldt

-- Besides, the "system" also includes presidential pardons and commutations --

No disagreement from me on that point, but the comment I was responding to was touting the efficacy of "the system" outside of the effect and power of presidential pardons and commutations.

By your admission, all of Clinton's pardons were righteous. After all, they were within "the system."

topsecretk9

I'm not sure if this was CathyF's theory, but Fitzgerald (and Walton) handed this to Bush by ignoring the probation board recommendations and pushing for a such a ridiculously harsh and long sentence. Bush would've most likely done nothing had they stuck to that.

Cecil Turner

By your admission, all of Clinton's pardons were righteous. After all, they were within "the system."

Doesn't follow. They could just as easily have been "system" failures (and in fact, in several cases, I think they were). Still, it's hard to get too excited over a few cases of unwarranted leniency. Hopefully we can agree that innocent men in jail (or worse, executed) is the prime indicator of a flawed system.

PeterUK.

"I find this travesty is affecting my opinion on the death penalty (I support the imposition for cases involving heinous murders, but not if there's a significant false positive rate)."

There have been a not a few cases in the UK where the police have "stitched up" some poor inadequate simply to get a result,prosecutors have wittingly or unwittingly gone along with the charade.
The missing investigator's note have more than a whiff of this.

SMGalbraith

Jane:
That's just gratuitous

Gratuitous?

How so?

His actions, it seems to me, warrant some prison time. I'd say six months. Then he could be released for the holidays/Christmas/Hannukah.

SMG

cboldt

-- Fitzgerald (and Walton) handed this to Bush by ignoring the probation board recommendations and pushing for a such a ridiculously harsh and long sentence --

It's an interesting parallel universe, if Walton had imposed the 12 months (or whatever) recommended by the probation board.

But I think the only logical conclusion is that President Bush thought prison was, per se, too harsh for the fact pattern represented by Libby's offense. President Bush's commutation power isn't all or nothing, he can temper the sentence any way he sees fit. The executive is "the enforcer," in our system of government.

President Bush saw fit to commute the entirety of the prison sentence imposed under law by the court.

SunnyDay

I think Washington Time and people like SMG are basing their opinion on the general available information with much of the detail excluded.

For someone who followed every detail, read every filing that was publicly available and all the liveblogging of the trials, understood there was no crime, saw the memory failings of the primary witnesses; realized the import of the lost FBI notes, the fact that Libby was allowed almost no discovery, no access to his note, that he was tortured by Fitz before the grand jury (8 hours? if he was at Guantanamo it would be called torture). I could go on and on... but these people, even reporters... didn't pay that much attention. They assume the jury did (we know how confused the jury was).

So, to those people: The jury heard it all, and believed Libby was proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt - that means he did it. So we should all be outraged that perjury and obstruction are being taken so lightly.

"We" know how shaky this was from the referral to DOJ on, and how many lies were told along the way, and we can't believe that these othe rpeople can't look closer and see what we see. Well, they're too busy, they need to trust the system, or whatever.

I still want to see that referral, and what Fitz said to Tatel. I want to know why Fitz didn't even get a smack on the hand for the lies in his presser, and for using material he had expressly excluded from the "narrow focus" of the trial. I think that was devious enough that it should not be allowed, even if he is "the government." I think Libby's rights were violated, and I can't see why no judge sees it.

I wasn't convinced on this blog, I came here, outraged to start with - because nothing I had read about this made any sense. I finally found a place (JOM) where someone else was paying attention, and thought like I did.

From day one: it. did. not. make. sense.

the entire story was outrageous. stupid. off the wall. insane. from day one. I never believe any of it. And I had never heard of JOM or Clarice or TM.

Cecil Turner

There have been a not a few cases in the UK . . .

Happens here, too, and too often. Best recent example is the LAPD "Rampart Division scandal". Isolated cases are inevitable, with humans in the loop. Hopefully it's not too common, and systemic abuses are addressed when discovered.

But I think the only logical conclusion is that President Bush thought prison was, per se, too harsh for the fact pattern represented by Libby's offense.

Alternate theory: he believes Libby is innocent, but finds it more politically expedient to commute rather than pardon. I suspect that's the actual case, and that the "respecting the jury" pablum is just that. A late-term outgoing pardon (or lack thereof) would be a pretty good indicator.

windansea

all of Clinton's pardons were righteous

quite a leap...I defend the constitutional right of any President to pardon or commute

That doesn't mean I can't point out individual cases (Rich, Rodham bros) that stink.

PeterUK.

"Alternate theory: he believes Libby is innocent,"

By the looks of things Mr Libby also thought himself innocent,why else spend all that effort and treasure for all that time?

cboldt

-- quite a leap...I defend the constitutional right of any President to pardon or commute ...
That doesn't mean I can't point out individual cases (Rich, Rodham bros) that stink.
--

You pointed at commutation and pardon as "system working," as a rebuttal to the point I stuck my beak in at, which was to point out the prevailing opinion here that Fitzgerald/Walton "system" was a failure.

You countered that the system did work, and pointed at the presidential power of commutation and pardon as evidence of that.

Now you are saying that exercise of presidential power is not necessarily evidence that the system works.

And that point I an 100% in agreement with.

Other Tom

Any discussion of this matter that invokes "principles" is off on a detour. This is bloodsport, and as Bill Clinton taught us, the point is to win in a game that has no rules.

I don't "defend" Bush by arguing that Clinton was worse. I say no one has a right to expect anything different, and if in particular you are a Clinton supporter, you have an especial obligation to put a sock in it.

The system worked for Clinton; now it works for Bush. Anyone who wants to can offer up an amendment to the constitution if he's upset.

SMGalbraith

SunnyDay:
I think Washington Time and people like SMG are basing their opinion on the general available information with much of the detail excluded.

As the Times pointed out (correctly):
A jury found Libby guilty of not only perjury but also obstruction justice and lying to a grand jury. It handed down a very supportable verdict. This is true regardless of the trumped-up investigation and political witch hunt.

The Times and I are aware of the unfairness of this entire process.

Joe Wilson is a snook. Fitzgerald abused his powers. Memories of key witnesses weren't adequately probed (or shown to be faulty). Et cetera, et cetera.

But the trumped up nature of the investigation (and I hope that one day we (left and right) will agree over the danger of these special/independent prosecutors) only mitigates what Libby did. It doesn't exonerate what he did.

One can state both "A" and "B".

SMG

cboldt

-- Any discussion of this matter that invokes principles" is off on a detour. --

I agree. Both sides are playing for keeps, and both sides play the public for suckers when it comes to invoking "principle."

"more politically expedient to commute" and "respecting the jury [is] pabulum" point to the compromising of principle and elevation of raw power.

topsecretk9

Sort of off topic, but initially I ignored the left's charge of a cover-up because I could not see what in the world they were talking about - it just sounded like a stupid lefty knee-jerk "soundbite" - now I see the "cover-up" Bush commuting the sentence (but leaving in place the FINE!) is to "silence" Libby. Sigh - I'll put my Sherlock Holmes hat on and guess by making all WH employees sign waivers of confidentiality was a part of this evil plot cover-up.

topsecretk9

Sort of off topic, but initially I ignored the left's charge of a cover-up because I could not see what in the world they were talking about - it just sounded like a stupid lefty knee-jerk "soundbite" - now I see the "cover-up" Bush commuting the sentence (but leaving in place the FINE!) is to "silence" Libby. Sigh - I'll put my Sherlock Holmes hat on and guess by making all WH employees sign waivers of confidentiality was a part of this evil plot cover-up.

SunnyDay

SMG, sorry I misread your thoughts. :D

Do you believe that Libby did indeed lie? Regardless of everyting else?

I don't - I don't think he's that stupid or egotistical. I think he would have resigned, lawyered up, and taken the fifth, if he believed he had done or said anything he shouldn't have - or was even being viewed that way - he went before the GJ before he knew he was a target, and he didn't have nis notes and said so. I think he thought that would be taken into account, instead of being used against him later after he was named a target.

SMGalbraith

OT:
As they (whoever they is) say, science will be the undoing of man.

Indeed.

SMG

Cecil Turner

It doesn't exonerate what he did.

You appear to be assuming a common view of "what he did," which is not on. I suspect what he did was have a bad memory. As long as you don't insist your belief is the only possible one, we can agree to disagree on the point.

"more politically expedient to commute" and "respecting the jury [is] pabulum" point to the compromising of principle and elevation of raw power.

Perhaps. I don't believe this particular jury verdict is entitled to a lot of respect, but that's not something one would generally say about juries, nor is it something I'd like to hear from the President. That's a compromise of principle, but no more so than when my wife asks if something makes her look fat (i.e., too much honesty is not warranted). And the pardon issue is not time critical, so . . .

windansea

Now you are saying that exercise of presidential power is not necessarily evidence that the system works.

nothing is perfect, but so far the checks and balances those founding geniuses put together are holding together pretty well.

ultimately we the people vote to reward or punish those to whom we assign reponsibility to protect us and write and interpret our laws.

Admiral Greer: Excuse me, Jack, tell me one thing in life that is absolutely for certain.

Jack Ryan: My daughter's love.

time to party, enjoy your 4th cboldt

sylvia

I was enjoying the coverage the last few days on MSNBC and CNN and all the commentators there were acting deflated and just shocked, shocked they tell us, about the pardon, like someone just took away their fav Fitzmas toy. There were trying to drum up some outrage for the public and at least get some mileage that way, but I think the country as a whole could care less about the pardon, save the leftie elite, so I think they are just going to have to fade out on this, their devious ploy all for naught. So much for Fitzmas.

Then I heard some complaining the President should have shortened the sentence. But then I heard some legal commentatoros saying that 'shortening' the sentence was not part of the powers of the pardon, so I'm not sure he could have even done that even if he wanted to.

Another thing I noticed is that foreign commenters in the London Times had no idea about the existence of the pardon, and thought pardons were just some corrupt Bush invention. So the pardon outrage might make some hay with foreigners who don't get the whole pardon thing, but I think Americans are well used to the idea and it will be harder to shock most of them on it.

cboldt

-- too much honesty is not warranted --

Exactly.

Cecil Turner

My favorite:

"Could you launch an ICBM horizontally?"
"Sure. Why would you want to?"
time to party, enjoy your 4th cboldt

Same here (to you, cboldt, SMG, et al). Cheers.

SMGalbraith

Cecil:
You appear to be assuming a common view of "what he did," which is not on. I suspect what he did was have a bad memory.

I can't believe that.

Bit o' tall grass time.

Judy Miller testified that during her discussions with Libby (where he mentioned Plame) that he was very agitated because he believed (correctly so) that the CIA was waging war against the White House over the failed pre-war intelligence.

They (the Agency) were trying to ascribe blame to the Administration, chiefly OVP.

We're all aware, here, of that internal fight where elements inside the CIA (Pillar, et al.) and outside (McGovern et al.) were leaking to undermine the Administration. He was right to be upset.

So, Libby knows the CIA is after Cheney et al. and he learns that the wife of one of the chief critics works at that agency.

Then, shortly later (don't have the exact timeline), he talks to Russert to complain about Matthews' cheap shots at the "neocons" and he testifies that he first learned about Plame's role from Russert.

He forgot about Plame?

Even though he believed (again correctly) that the Agency was waging war on the White House over pre-war intelligence failures?

Possible?

Maybe.

Likely? No.

SMG

SMGalbraith

Same here (to you, cboldt, SMG, et al). Cheers.

Happy Fourth to all.

I love this: Lincoln's Independence Day
speech (July 7th) right after the announcement of the surrender at Vicksburg.

One description warrants notice:
Mr. Lincoln was at that moment absent at the War Department, but he promptly came over, and made his appearance at the window of the portico of the Executive mansion. When he stood before them, hearing the marks of the excessive labor and care that has fallen to his lot ever since he assumed the duties of his office, but wearing a smile of supreme satisfaction at the glorious events which his fellow-citizens were celebrating, vociferous cheers vent the air.

After all those years of pain etched on his face, Lincoln with a smile.

SMG

Stobo Blobo

cboldt-

You pointed at commutation and pardon as "system working," as a rebuttal to the point I stuck my beak in at, which was to point out the prevailing opinion here that Fitzgerald/Walton "system" was a failure.

You countered that the system did work, and pointed at the presidential power of commutation and pardon as evidence of that.

Now you are saying that exercise of presidential power is not necessarily evidence that the system works.

And that point I an 100% in agreement with.

If the system allows the President to use his pardon power however he sees fit whether you or anyone else disagrees with how he applies it, coherently explain, if you can, how any exercising of that power could be construed in any way other than that the system is working. It can easily be argued that Clinton's pardon of Marc Rich violated most American's sense of justice, but using that to say 'that's evidence the system may not be working' would be laughed at by serious Constitutional scholars.

If you don't like the system, work to limit presidential pardoning power. Otherwise, it's just sour grapes.

Both sides are playing for keeps, and both sides play the public for suckers when it comes to invoking "principle."

"more politically expedient to commute" and "respecting the jury [is] pabulum" point to the compromising of principle and elevation of raw power.

If every use of the presidential pardon is an example of the executive branch trumping all else, including the judicial branch, explain how every exercising of that power wouldn't be an example of "raw power".

Since it's true that everytime a president intervenes with a pardon he is saying that his idea of justice is superior to a jury and/or a judge might say, would you say a president should never grant a pardon? If you say 'no', by what/whose principles should a president decide to base his pardons on?

JM Hanes

SMG:

"But the trumped up nature of the investigation (and I hope that one day we (left and right) will agree over the danger of these special/independent prosecutors) only mitigates what Libby did. It doesn't exonerate what he did."

And a partial commutation mitigates the consequences, without exonerating him from guilt either.


cboldt:

"But I think the only logical conclusion is that President Bush thought prison was, per se, too harsh for the fact pattern represented by Libby's offense."

While it might seem probable to many, that's hardly the only logical conclusion. We can only guess at what his reaction might have been had Libby been sentenced to, say, 60 days in jail and probation. Given the timing of the communtation, it would also be perfectly logical to suggest that Bush didn't believe Libby should be serving an extended prison sentence for a conviction which might be reversed. Should that happen, Libby can get his money back, but not the years he would have lost with his children and they, in turn, with their father.

cboldt

-- Since it's true that everytime a president intervenes with a pardon he is saying that his idea of justice is superior to a jury and/or a judge might say, would you say a president should never grant a pardon? --

Well, in the Libby case, President Bush expressly said "I respect the jury's verdict."

And in many (most) cases, a pardon is granted AFTER the sentence is served, for a variety of good reasons.

I would not say that a president should never grant a pardon. I would say that any grant of a pardon is reasonably subjected to the risk and substance of criticism.

cboldt

-- We can only guess at what his reaction might have been had Libby been sentenced to, say, 60 days in jail and probation. Given the timing of the communtation, it would also be perfectly logical to suggest that Bush didn't believe Libby should be serving an extended prison sentence for a conviction which might be reversed. --

I agree we can only guess, but the combination of remedy (outright commutation rather than a respite) and timing (at denial of bail pending appeal) represents a strong signal that Bush thinks prison is per se excessive for Libby's offense.

If he figured on an outright reversal on appeal, he could have granted a respite (delay) rather than a commutation of sentence. If he thought the verdict was just and 60 days was an appropriate duration of imprisonment, he could have commuted the sentence to 60 days imprisonment.

Terry Gain

"since the next President is likely to be a Dem."

Hardly. The Dems are going to nominate someone who is unelectable. And she will be eating crow as she tries to explain pulling her support for the mission in Iraq when it should have been clear to her that the mission would be successful. (This latter point will become clear over the course of the next six months as it becomes obvious to all that the Surge worked.)

Of course few understand that the key the the Surge is the infusion of competent Iraqi forces ready to fight for their country so success will come as a huge surprise.

cboldt

nothingness designed to italics off

Terry Gain

If it isn't appropriate for the President to grant a pardon in the case of a political prosecution when is it?

birdseye

“Yeah, but I think the facts were different,” Mr. Clinton said.

Of course they were different. Hillary's brother got paid. And I don't believe for a moment that Marc Rich had his for free.

It's time for Bush and the Republicans to forcefully counter these criticisms by Democrats. Alas, most Republicans are tongue tied when push comes to shove. Perhaps Bush should consider releasing the WH papers dealing with the pardons The Bent One issued. But it won't happen because Bush seems to think that his ratings will go up if he exhibits kindness. What an idiot.

boris

Let’s say the primary witness in a perjury trial is someone like BJ, who lies about half the time so nobody can ever be sure about what he says.

Mocktard: The BJ version of the story is different than the Scooter version and assuming BJ is telling the truth then Scooter must be lying.

Me: Why would you assume that? BJ is a proven liar ???

Mocktard: So what, that’s no excuse for Scooter to lie is it? Two wrongs don’t make it right you know.

Me: WTF??? That’s not the point at all. You can’t send Scooter to jail based on an unreliable source like BJ.

Mocktard: So ??? You yourself admit that BJ tells the truth at least half the time.

Me: BJ has already told three different version of the story. He’s not credible.

Mocktard: So ??? If even one of those versions is true that makes Scooter the liar. Based on your own admission at least one of them MUST be true.

Me: I give up. You are a fool.

Cecil Turner

So, Libby knows the CIA is after Cheney et al. and he learns that the wife of one of the chief critics works at that agency.

Then, shortly later (don't have the exact timeline), he talks to Russert to complain about Matthews' cheap shots at the "neocons" and he testifies that he first learned about Plame's role from Russert.

Timeline:

  • June 12th--Libby learns Plame works at CIA;
  • July 10th--Libby talks to Russert;
  • October 14th--Libby is first questioned (about a leak in which he had no part).
Four months after the initial discussion, three months after the Russert conversation, Libby testifies he'd forgotten the first--though it's in his notes, so it must be so--and vividly recalls being surprised on the second. There's no "shortly" involved in this at all. Nor was Plame's employment the main point of any of the conversations, by anybody's testimony.

Possible?

Maybe.

Likely? No.

Your memory must be a lot better than mine. I can hardly remember discussions I had three months ago, even important ones. Certainly can't be sure which came first, or who told me what bit of info first and when. Why folks think it's a lot more likely he'd make up a nonsensical lie to inadequately cover up a non crime is a bit hard for me to credit.

boris

So, Libby knows the ...

Always seems easier to make your case if you can assume you know what someone was thinking.

Jeff Dobbs

sbw:
This morning my wife asked me: So why do you pay such close attention to the Libby case?

Heh, last night my brother in law asked about the case...and why I "blogged" so much.

And much to my surprise, I could relate nearly all the details of the case with a fairly coherent accuracy.

[VIMH: Surprising?]
Yes, I Question the Timing. It was late enough in the day that my faculties were most certainly impaired to some degree.

My b-i-l did have to interpret some of the slurring. Which I might add, he did with surprising ease. Maybe it's the fact that his 20 month old's normal speech patterns and mine after drinking are remarkably similar.

Now, for a quick bonfire and then the fireworks. Egads it gets dark late here. The kids will all be monsters in the morning on that little sleep.

Me too.

JJ

David Brooks characterization in his column "Ending the Farce" is probably the best way to look at Libby, from beginning to end.

Quote Brooks: Plamegate was a farce in five acts.

Really have to keep the Acts of this drama separate to get it right, IMO. (And this is why I hope the appeal goes on.)

Most of the problems that have arisen in considering the Libby drama is how the various five Acts interplay with one another.

sbw said:

Because, although I had no particular interest in the case, I discovered repeated and persistent misbehavior undertaken by multiple parties in the CIA, the Justice Department, the Congress, the courts, and, in particular, the national press, simply to take down an elected official with whose politics they opposed."

sbw's ire is with Acts I and II with some of Act III mixed in.

Patterico -- whom I find frustrating to read -- seems to focus only on Act III without considering any of the other Acts.

I still think Libby told some lies to the GJ, but given the circumstances -- or the other Acts -- I don't hold Libby's feet to the fire as legalistically as Patterico does. And certainly not for 2 1/2 years of jail time!

If there is any comparison to make (yea, this is far-fetched), compare Libby to the TDF and Floyd Landis. The Tour hit Landis with spectacular charges without innocence before guilt and without real chance of recourse. Despite the large numbers of cheaters in cycling, the governing body of cycling has made the testing process a pure joke and, therefore, cycling and the TDF a farce. (And the TDF starts again in several days without resolution or a 2006 winner!)

May the legal system here never fall to the level of disgust with which many now regard professional cycling's management! Bush's Act V appearance just put some sanity back into the entire process.

clarice

[quote]I don't understand the point. Some very smart people here arguing, if I comprehend their argument, that Clinton's abuses (far greater than this act by Bush, to be sure) somehow justifies (mitigates? permits? allows? what?) the commutation of Libby's sentence.[/quote]
I don't see anyone arguing that at all--simply pointing out the hypocrisy of people like Hillary and Schumer and Pelosi and Conyers who considered truly outrageous (obviously paid for) pardons as a ok and this one requiring Congressional investigation and condemnation.

Other Tom

"And in many (most) cases, a pardon is granted AFTER the sentence is served, for a variety of good reasons."

True enough. But of course no pardon has occurred here, only a commutation. I haven't checked, but I would certainly assume that commutations are issued in each and every instance BEFORE the sentence is served, as of course is the case here.

There are certainly a number of high-profile cases that come to mind where pardons were issued not only before the sentence was served, but before the defendant (or putative defendant) was even convicted. Ford's pardon of Nixon comes to mind. Bush I's pardon of Weinberger et al. in the Iran-Contra fiasco. Didn't Carter issue a blanket pardon of an unknown number of draft dodgers?

cboldt

-- I haven't checked, but I would certainly assume that commutations are issued in each and every instance BEFORE the sentence is served --

I haven't checked either, but from what I've read, while commutation is ALWAYS provided before the sentence is fully served, it is RARELY provided before the sentence is started. From what I've read, RARELY as in Libby is the first time, ever.

The difference between pardon and commutation is important in the academic sense. The public can't tell the difference, and will follow the lead of pundits. As you point out, the range and effect of pardons is fact-specific. Likewise for commutations.

RalphL

I believe commutations of death sentences are usually imposed before sentence is served. Most people get that one.

cboldt

-- believe commutations of death sentences are usually imposed before sentence is served. --

Touche

Rick Ballard

"After all those years of pain etched on his face, Lincoln with a smile."

Damn right he was smiling - he'd already locked up over 13,000 Copperheads (without charging them with anything in particular - and for the duration) and he wasn't done yet. Federal troops had stopped the draft riots in NYC by shooting dead a few score of rioters and not a few printing presses had been broken up and tossed in rivers.

Of course, sedition and treason weren't quite as popular then as they are now.

RalphL

Rick, we have to forget all that because they were Democrats.

maryrose

SMG:
I have to disagree with your desire to have Libby serve time. Fitz displayed prosecutorial misconduct throughout this case. Ari-gets immunity, and Armitage gets a pass.Libby gets a perjury trap. Libby obstructed nothing except the imaginary path to Cheney and Rove which the left wanted. They knew Rove would get Bush re-elected because in their hearts they knew Kerry was a loser. I read a British assessment and reaction to Bill helping Hil in Iowa. Almost all posters stated that Hil doesn't have a chance and that Obama is shaky also.
People can kick and scream about Clinton's pardons and this commutation but ultimately THEY CAN'T Do ANYTHING ABOUT IT! Just like the U.S. attorneys, it's the pleasure of the president to dispose whomever and whatever he likes. Dems need to get their own person in the Oval Office before they can get any real power and this they consistently fail to do because they don't stand for anything and are soft on terrorism. Terry Gain: you are right about Hil and her recent vote to de-fund the troops. It's going to come back and bite her in the rear end!

Pal2Pal (Sara)

But the trumped up nature of the investigation (and I hope that one day we (left and right) will agree over the danger of these special/independent prosecutors) only mitigates what Libby did. It doesn't exonerate what he did.

One can state both "A" and "B".

No one exonerated anything. And commuting jail time isn't washing away any sentence. I don't know about your financial situation, but for most of us, the real sentence here is a fine of a quarter million dollars. I think that is extraordinarily excessive, but apparently the President doesn't. 2 years of supervised probation is no walk in the park either. So anyone who thinks this commutation somehow was a big gimmee for Libby is pretty cold-hearted. Also, he has lost his job, his security clearance, and his law license AND his right to vote. For a man of Libby's background and achievement, these are very harsh punishments for being convicted of misremembering a conversation that he probably didn't even misremember in the first place, but we'll never know because the FBI lost the Russert notes. Why didn't Eckenrode testify? Why was Fitz afraid to get him on the stand to tell us his first hand account of his conversation with Russert. What was he trying to hide?

And as to your claim about the conversation with Russert and Libby suddenly saying it was when he heard about Plame and that was a lie. That isn't my memory. According to what I heard, Libby said he was trying not to confirm anything, wanted to be noncommittal so as not to inadvertently give confirmation and that when all was said and done what he remembered was being surprised that Russert had the name and CIA association in the first place or at all.

And going back to the sentence, there is no way that the Judge, Fitz, the Justice Dept. or the press can justify the sentence, whether jail, fine and probation of Libby when the same Justice Dept. let Sandy Berger, who committed a far far more serious offense than misremembering, he stole and destroyed classified documents and left other documents at a dead drop for someone else to come along and pick up. We used to call that spying. But, no jail time, no probation, $50,000 fine, loss of law license for 5 years. Big deal.

Terry Gain

After the verdict one of the jurors said something to the effect that it ought to have been Rove in the dock since he was the one who was really guilty. It raises the question whether Libby was tried before a properly constituted (impartial)jury.

Pofarmer

# June 12th--Libby learns Plame works at CIA;
# July 10th--Libby talks to Russert;

The thing we don't know, is what Russert actually knew, and what he actually said. Mitchell's, "everybody knew" statements, kind of make Russert's testimony questionable, no?

Now, Libby possibly knew that Plame worked in the CIA, which might not have been extrordinary in and of itself. But when did the OVP know that Val had been instrumental in sending Joe? If Russert and company already knew this, and Russert said something to the effect of "Did you guys realize his wife sent him", or something to that effect, then, yes, Libby could have reasonable been surprised. It's hard for me to beleive that the prosecutor didn't try harder to pin down what his star witnesses knew, and when. Instead, he made it nearly impossible for the defense to do what he should have done. The whole thing is a travesty.

Davod

Please forgive me but I do not have time to read all the comments. I am not a lawyer so my comment many be irrelevant. I cannot understand why the three judge panel wouldn't let Libbey stay out on bail pending the result of the appeal.

Jane

Davod,

They didn't explain why.

Pofarmer

you are right about Hil and her recent vote to de-fund the troops. It's going to come back and bite her in the rear end!

That's a pretty substantial target!!

Pal2Pal (Sara)

Fox is reporting that Scooter Libby paid $250,400 in fines this morning. Paid from personal funds.

cathyf
Some regulars here see ZERO unprincipled action by Libby (he told the truth about his awareness), and the prevailing opinion is that even if his actions were shy of perfection, the conviction was procured via prosecutorial misconduct, e.g., a misapplication of law that requires materiality in order to proceed, or an abuse of prosecutorial discretion.
You are raising and slaying strawmen, cboldt. My objections go something more like this...

1) In the Cooper counts, the jury convicted a man for obstruction of justice while simultaneously acquitting him of lying. In this case, Libby did only one thing -- he talked. To the FBI, to the grand jury. The only way that the prosecutor alleged that he obstructed the investigation, the only way, logically, that he could have obstructed the investigation, was by lying. The jury says that no, he didn't lie, yes he obstructed the investigation. So we have a man who has been convicted and sentenced for the "crime" of telling the truth under oath. It is an extraordinarily basic feature of the law that the state can't force someone to break the law and then prosecute him for it. Apparently you lawyers have changed the law so that you can subpoena someone and the person is guilty of perjury if he lies, obstruction if he tells the truth and contempt if he stays silent.

2) The sixth amendment guarantees an accused the right to "face his accusers". Apparently, in the current legal system, this is not a right to rebut his accusers, merely a right to know who some of them are. Fitzgerald told us in the indictment press conference that the leak we saw -- where "UGO" told Novak on July 8 that Wilson had been sent to Niger because his wife worked in the CIA group that sent him -- was not important because it was not the first leak, and that Libby was the first leak, and that Libby's lies and obstruction prevented the investigation from finding the first leaker. I claim that by logic, in this kind of case, the "accusers" are all the people who convince the investigators that "it wasn't me" -- all of them. In fact, there was at least one of those accusers -- Armitage -- who leaked -- to Woodward -- well before there is any evidence that Libby knew about Plame. Fitzgerald fought long and hard to keep Armitage's identity from the defense.

3) Our legal system puts the burden of proof on the prosecution, and the standard of proof as beyond a reasonable doubt. I followed the trial quite closely, and the claim that the prosecution provided proof beyond a reasonable doubt is utterly laughable. Forget reasonable doubt -- they didn't hardly provide anything that passed the laugh test. All of the evidence in this case was basically one person's testimony against another person's testimony where everyone is working from memory. There is very little physical evidence, but the physical evidence that does exist -- phone logs, notes, public records -- where it exists it often shows that people's testimony was incorrect. Perhaps lying, more likely simply misremembered, but nonetheless incorrect.

4) Back in science class I learned that "evidence" was something that had to be somehow demonstrable. In this case, I saw the prosecution throw up a cloud of unsupported allegations about independent events and then claim that somehow just making enough unsupported allegations created a body of "circumstantial evidence". In other words, like converting lead to gold, the prosecution can create "facts" out of whole cloth merely by inventing enough stuff that they call it "circumstantial" evidence. In math, zero times anything is still zero -- if somehow the lawyers have perverted the law to assert that there is a sufficient multiplicity of nuthin to make sumthin, then we have a problem.

5) In common law, there is the Two Witness Rule in perjury. Basically, it says that when one witness says one thing, and another witness says a contradictory thing, that you can't convict one of them without something else to indicate which of them is lying. There are two problems in the Libby case with both of the "perjuries" that were claimed: the first is that the "perjurious" testimony and the "witness" testimony are not, by logic, contradictory. Person 1 remembers X happening; person 2 does not -- is one of them necessarily lying? Of course not -- far more likely is that one or both of the people are remembering incorrectly. Person 1 remembers Y happening, person 3 remembers Z happening -- is one lying? Not if it's possible that both Y and Z happened. The second problem was a bit more subtle. In this case, Libby claimed that he was surprised when he heard from Russert about Plame, and the he had no memory of saying anything to Fleischer about Plame at breakfast, and because he was surprised 5 days later, he inferred that he was sure that he couldn't have done so. Both of these "perjuries" are equal, but Fitzgerald chose to only charge one of them. If Fitzgerald had charged both as separate counts, then both counts would have been thrown out by the 2-witness rule. But instead he charged only one, and then the other one he could simply assert as uncorroborated testimony, and then it became a "fact" which could be used as circumstantial "evidence" to support the Russert count. (See the previous complaint about circumstantial "evidence".)

I'm not a lawyer, I'm a citizen. If you lawyers have really perverted the law in these ways, then I have a solemn duty as a citizen of the republic to fix the law. These things have nothing to do with materiality, or abuse of discretion. This is about the basic rule of law -- it's not Fitzgerald as Nifong or Earle, but Fitzgerld as Mr. Gilmer and Walton as Judge Taylor to Scooter Libby's Tom Robinson.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Traffic

Wilson/Plame