Powered by TypePad

« Duke Lacrosse - More Ethics Charges Against Nifong | Main | Traditional Plame Open Thread »

January 24, 2007



Perhaps Wells was right about making Libby the fall guy.

We have had THREE witnesses with ONE COMMON THREAD.

All three didn't at first recall their conversations with Libby. Then after a few talkings to by the FBI and the prosecutor, by the time they reach the grand jury, they started to remember Libby, and now at trial time, there memories of Libby are even more clear.


Perhaps it was Tom Cruise in a Libby mask??


--Posted by: Javani | January 24, 2007 at 05:38 PM--

but he FELT it, he just knows he did.

That passage was just a LOL, seriously.

Dan S

"J And when did you forget that feeling?

G I didn't recall it.

J What triggered that feeling?

G I wish I could tell you."

Trust your feelings, Luke...

Yep, that's evidence for you, "I felt guilty, so I must have told him something that I shouldn't have."

But I don't remember.


Hey Losers

It only gets worse for you neocon facists from here. Don't struggle. We will make it painless.


Squeaky Fromm? That you?


"We have had THREE witnesses with ONE COMMON THREAD."

At lest two of them tried to implicate Libby deeper than they testified prior. Suspicious.

Other Tom

It's starting to remind me of the Fells Acres thing: nobody knows shit until the investigators tell them what kinds of responses will earn their approval. Except in Fells Acres they were kids; here they're US State Department dolts.

Martin/Don, where are you? Your colleague BTW seems to be as dismayed as you are about how this whole thing is playing out. You should have your people get in touch with his people. Take a meeting.

glenda waggoner

TM-you are fabulous! Looks like this may all lay
at Mitchell's, Russert's and surprise surprise
Gregory's stinky footsteps.(which I remember you
hitting on from the beginning)
And is there anyone more entertaining than Shuster?
He reminds me of the American Idol wannabees, whom
rejected; plead-"tell me what you want to hear"



speaking of matters thta might have surprised Walton, remember you wrote this...

"The exception was the CIA employee who said CIA legal counsel told her this was a case about the leak of an undercover agent's identity in revenge for Wilson's comments. (Imagine that!) When pressed later on this,(after Fitz indicated he had no idea what she was told and she may have misunderstood) she said she might have misunderstood what she was told. (Hey--welcome to the case.)"




OT That Fells Acre analogy is a good one..what did they do, put these guys in the John Fosrer Dulles room and make them eat whoppers and fries until they remembered what they forgot? Use little Val and Munchausen dolls and ask them to point at where that nasty Libby touched them?

I don't remember a stupider beginning to a major trial.

Lew Clark

Proof that this is an equal access sight! Hours of intelligent people discussing important things intelligently. Then BTW pops in to show us idiots are welcome here too.


about the revelation we had copies of the forgeries, so crude googling the name rendered them fakes?

Well according to these reports we had details about them as far back as Oct. 2001

October 15, 2001 Italy’s military intelligence service (SISMI) provides Jeff Castelli, the CIA station chief in Rome, with papers documenting an alleged uranium deal between Iraq and Niger. The agent, who is not permitted to duplicate the papers, writes a summary of them and sends the report to Langley. [New Yorker, 10/27/2003; Knight Ridder, 11/4/2005; La Repubblica (Rome), 11/11/2005] The allegations - The report includes four allegations: The report states that Iraq first communicated its interest in purchasing uranium from Niger at least as early as 1999. [US Congress, 7/7/2004] As blogger ERiposte will conclude through his careful analysis at TheLeftCoaster.Org [ERiposte, 10/31/2005] , none of the documents that are later provided to the US as the basis for this allegation include actual proof of uranium negotiations in 1999. Two of the source documents for this allegation do mention a 1999 visit by Wissam Al-Zahawi to Niger; however, no evidence has ever surfaced suggesting that there were any discussions about uranium during that visit (see February 1999). The first document (possibly authentic) is a letter, dated February 1, 1999, from the Niger embassy in Rome to Adamou Chekou, the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Niger, announcing Zahawie’s trip. It does not mention uranium. (Note that the SISMI report does not mention Al-Zahawi’s trip, it only states that uranium negotiations between the two countries began by at least 1999.) The second document is a letter dated July 30, 1999 from the Niger Ministry of Foreign Affairs to his ambassador in Rome requesting that he contact Zahawie, concerning an agreement signed June 28, 2000 to sell uranium to Iraq. The letter is an obvious forgery because it refers to an event that it describes as taking place 11 months later. [Unknown, n.d.]

MUCH earlier than the "crazy report" - so when Cheny a year later asked what we knew about this, looks like the CIA never checked into it - at all - and Magical mystery Niger trip was major CYA-

Also, I would wager the CIA Rome guy Castelli's notes included the "googlable" name.




Yep...Marci Wheeler thinks she has a big scoop about this....like it's big news...see my comments at bottom of her latest thread at TNR...if you read the SCCI report its obvious we had those docs...somebody in CPD (could be Val) stuffed them in a safe and dropped the ball


Yes. Linda. Someone.


All: Drudge has the siren up at drudgeregort.com again!





Yeah Wind.

I notice there was some strained pains being made about who might have Fubar'd. - never Val though.

Could be one of 2 things

A- most likely

Incompetents running the show, totally goofy intel, big CYA efforts, fall back on wormy "we were pressured, cherry-picky"


B- CIA knew much earlier they were forgeries kept quiet and played dumb because they liked the idea of adding to their legitimacy so that the Admin would be hugely embarrassed when IAEA said they were fakes.

A - most likely


I am having a hard time catching up - have the timelines on when the 3 witness so far spoke to FBI been pinned down?

There are some pretty crazy bits, but in my mind - if I were a juror - hearing a witness question the validity of his FBI statements and own GJ testimony is pretty major.

Is he saying they aren't accurate?

I know it could be a memory issue - but forgetting or thinking your entire substance was different is a pretty big demonstration of faulty memory AND perception for the defense.

Was Fitzy's brow sweating again?

The investigation part is shaping up to have been very bizarre.


Aside from the memory failures, from the fact that all three undercut Fitz' tale that the Plame news was memorable and that Libby was focused on it, there is a scent in the air of manipulation--witnesses who at first made no mention of such exchanges after repeated questioning in a variety of contexts remember years later events they could not recall closer in time. Even though they--unlike Libby had their contemporaneous notes before them when first interviewed.



Now you're scaring me. I've gone with "B" from the get-go.

Can we get straight just which one of us is the conspiracy theorist?


Clarice...it sounds like manipulation - like they were fearful, pressured and are now cherry picking new memories.

Via York:

"He told me that he was angry at the way he had been described [on 'Meet the Press']. He was very mad at the way he'd been described and that people were not taking him seriously…What he told me was that he had been described as some low-level person, and he was very upset by that."

"Did he say he was considering going public to correct a misimpression created by Condoleezza Rice?" asked Libby attorney Ted Wells.

"Yes," said Grossman.

This **sounds** like the conversation Wilson describes with a VERY senior administration official - only it appears to be lacking Wilson's assertion this person encouraged him to go public AND the part that it was Wilson really WHINING he was made to look like the fool he is vs. his admirable assistance and truth-telling.

Literary flair on parade yet again? How many is that, like the 55th instance?


Trust me Walt...B is still very much lurking in the background.


and Walt...it could be a combo.


EW thinks the Cruise tidbit is a bombshell and the defense is hackneyed - and this sentiment seems to have the effect of pissing the media room off.


what sentiment, TS?


"EW thinks the Cruise tidbit is a bombshell>

It can be.

"and the defense is hackneyed - and this sentiment seems to have the effect of pissing the media room off."

Hackneyed? Right word? They are doing an amazing job setting up for closing. Admittedly it wasn't so hard to do since 2 or maybe 3 of the three made different statements than in their prior testimony which surely the defense has closely studied.

"There are some pretty crazy bits, but in my mind - if I were a juror - hearing a witness question the validity of his FBI statements and own GJ testimony is pretty major."

It might be true about the notes, but testified to by a person who is contradicting his own testimony elsewhere is not a great statement. And more jurors will identify with an FBI agent than CIA bureaucrat.

"It sounds like manipulation - like they were fearful, pressured and are now cherry picking new memories."

More like payback for that apologia forced by the WH on Tenet.

Other Tom

I love it when guys dispute the transcript of their grand jury testimony, or the accruracy of the FBI note.. It's getting pretty close to Charles Barkley claiming he was misquoted in his autobiography.


i guess that she thinks the defense is shaping up to be hackneyed. This view would piss them off.

Paper bags Clarice


Thanks to SunnyDay!

Via the INR

Amb. Wilson mentioned two guys he would talk to in Niamey, former Minister Myaki and somebody named Mai Manga. The only Mai Manga known to the Embassy during the 1999-2001 period was a colonel in the Army. The Amb. said that is was not the same Mai Manga. Wilson believed that the Nigeriens, understanding that he has worked at the NSC, would believe he represented "national command authority" and that word of his presence would stir things up to such an extent that information would tumble out and/or the Nigeriens, they were indeed planning on selling uranium to Iraq would get scared and discontinue the sales project.

2 contacts? and Mai Manga who no one appears to know? A big trip for 2 contacts?

there are a few more weird things here, but can you just sense the eyerolls of a few at the meeting at "national command authority" on speaking to an old Nigerien official and someone no one even knows?

Also, why did Wilson insist on being able to tell his contacts he was there on behalf of the government or cia or whatever if he feared his mere presence would scare them and they would think he was there on "national command authority" -

Maybe I am missing something, but geezus - what is up?


Munchausen is someone else whose head I don't want to get into--but my guess is that he thought the more official he seemed the more seriously he'd be taken and his requests for information .

OTOH if he was pimping for his own business interests and inflated how important he was and how wired into the govt it would probably be helpful to him, too. And if it were the later--I'm a bigshot and let's do business--the whole idiotic behest claim makes some sense..



Now if we can only get Cecil on board...


"Also, why did Wilson insist on being able to tell his contacts he was there on behalf of the government or cia or whatever if he feared his mere presence would scare them and they would think he was there on "national command authority" -

Because it would help his authority to get the private gold mining deals he was also working on.

"Thank you very much Mr. Manga...BTW, I also represent X corp. out of London and I'd like to talk to you about...

Just a "guess."

I looked at the firedoglake.com latest post...I'll pass comments on her interpretations of court strategy but she makes an interesting comment, revelation to her, about the dirtiness of Washington politics without Bush/Dem bifurcations.

It's true...


""I'm a bigshot and let's do business--the whole idiotic behest claim makes some sense""

You beat me to it!

Your brain is reality based!

Remember, even his friend Grossman thought the appointment of Wilson "inappropriate."

BTW, another thought...Fitz's priming of witnesses to say how harmful the release of information was will bite back with what Novak was told...


The reason Libby is in trouble and not Rove is because Libby named Russert specifically and Rove just said the more vague "reporters". The NYT yesterday wrote about Libby's testimony where he said he thought he first heard the information on Plame from Tim Russert. Russert said that they never even discussed Plame in their conversation on July 10. I'm sorry, but knowing that Libby had so much information already on Plame, that's a little hard to swallow that Libby would ever think Russert was the FIRST to tell him that, even if the jury doesn't believe Russert.

Still that is not part of the charges - again the charges are similar to this -

LIBBY did not advise Judith Miller, on or about July 12, 2003, that LIBBY had heard other reporters were saying that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA, nor did LIBBY advise her that LIBBY did not know whether this assertion was true;

Libby can stick with the 'I made a mistake defense' and explain that he thought he had said those lines to the reporters during his testimony because he had imagined later that he had told the reporters a cover story at the time, in order to hide where he got the information from. That could maybe fly. However, combined with his pretty hard-to-believe testimony that he first heard about Plame from Russert, I think the jury is going to have a hard time believing he just made a mistake. I still think the perjury charge is coming down. Hopefully the sentence will be light.

Rick Ballard


Did you catch the COGEMA reference in the INR attachments?

"Boucar ((MAI MANGA))...A former directer of Nigerien-COMENAC (a COGEMA subsidiary) and currently honorary chairman of COMENAC...

Mai Manga also said that (FNU)? Blascher the former director general of SOMAIR and currently a director of COGEMAR...

Ole Joe was running interference for those sweet Frenchmen - the ones who were going to sell Saddam the fuel for Osirak - and sold Libya that yellowcake that so surprised ElBaradei and the IAEA.

Joe's as dirty as a full diaper.


A little track back on what Tom said some time ago on the Niamey trip (and me, too)


Thanks Rick...I going to read the thread now.


Thanks Rick AND Clarice

I am going to read and refresh my memory now.

Rick Ballard


It's not on the thread. It's the last page on the INR exhibit.

It's also the real explanation of why Munchausen doesn't want anything to do with the witness stand.


Fedora did the very best research job of Wilson Africa and Cogema,>Out of Africa

Rick Ballard

Quick links to Clarice's AT piece which references this piece by Tom.


I a printing the whole thing out, thanks Rick

Also, don't forget this ( a blogger titled his blog post

"could he find cheese in Wisconsin?")

By the close of the 1990s, the CIA started to scrutinize Khan's activities and travels, still without realizing their full importance. One of the more curious details in Mr. Corera's book is that the agency turned to Joe Wilson, the husband of CIA officer Valerie Plame, to investigate some of Khan's African visits. To this end, Mr. Wilson traveled to uranium-rich Niger in 1999, a full three years before he went there to investigate Saddam Hussein's possible attempts to buy "yellowcake" uranium. Mr. Wilson found nothing worrisome in Niger either time.



um...I was just highlighting Clarice's article - argh. Sorry.

Now "reading" hardcopy INR.


Just so people know, the Scientologists have been pestering the government to put presure on Germany since the 80s. It was a big deal at the beginning of Clinton's first term because he had so many new Hollywood "friends" they thought he might actually do it, but nothing came of it in the end.


Isn't it slightly weird all of these trips took place on or around the week of the 20th of February? 1999, 2000, 2002


Interesting--Feb 20 is a holiday there-President's Day.


TS- I seem you've found my favorite part of the INR memo. Can't you just hear the eyes rolling as they wrote up Wilsons delusions of grandeur (the information may just spill out). heh heh heh


"Wilson...said he would only go [to Niger] if [State] thought it made sense."

I bet that State INR rep. who put those notes together is kicking himself hard for not speaking up when he had the chance.


I'm surprised whoever originally redacted the INR memo decided releasing the following information posed a threat to the national security:

From what we can find in ourt records, Joe Wilson played only a walk-on part in the Niger/Uranium story.
It would be interesting to see the newly released version of the memo, with the previously redacted portions highlighted.


MJW- that would be interesting!

I'm reading Grenier's testimony. He says on June 11 the CIA was willing to admit they'd sent Wilson. Did that happen? Did CIA do anything to publicly walk back on Wilson before July 11?


OK, here's what was edited out before:
Para 1 - reworded a little. previously declassified (july 7) memo says:
one INR staff member who was most involved is not here the one has been reassigned to ___ to guide us through the files and emails.

evidence meme (june 10) says the two INR staff members who were most involved are not here (one has been reassigned to Pakistan, the other is on leave)..

para 2
previously redacted: From what we can find in our records, Joe Wilson played only a walk-on part in the Niger/Iraq uranium story.
previously redactd: ..but said he would only go if the Department thought his trip made sense (tab 1).

para 3 (redacted )In a May 8, 2002 INR assessment of Iraq's WMD and missile programs, we noted "There have been provacative allegations of Iraqi nuclear activities, such as an alleged contract for the provsion of uranium from Niger, but we regard such information as questionable.

para 5 -- via both CIA and...(had been redacted to read These documents, which were sent to Washington via -----Department channels)

para 6 now read: In November 2002, WINPAC briefed the ....that fragmentary reports indicated Iraq was trying to qcquire uranium ore in Africa;however, WINPAC pointed to other potential African sources, not Niger.

OK, this is kind of a weird one--
under "attachments" Tab 3: Cable from Ebbassy Niamey: "Niger:President Tandja Tells DCINC Niger's Uranium is Secure: [this next part was redacted] Slams Terrorism"

None of the tabs were included previously, that I can tell at least.




OK, found the rest, the famous Ronin's notes (it would be page 4 of the previously released memo):

para 2- previously redacted: Two CIA WMD analysts seem to be leading the charge on the issue ----- the other guy's name not available. They appear to believe that the Embassy will be unable to ferret out the truth on the Niger/Iraq matter.

para 2, previously redacted- "Later when the WMD guys failed to get the hint" (they were informed...)

para 3 previously redacted: If Wilson goes (rest remains largely redacted)

para 6 - previously redacted: INR suggested that perhaps the most cost-effective way of handling the problem would be talking to the French. They have a much thicker presence on the ground in Niger, and even if they for some unkown reason were conspiring with a rogue state to on WMD sales, our contacting them would let them know that we know and prbably thereby disrupt the operation.

everything in the newly released copy after this paragraph is new information. Hopefully this makes sense to you all.



There is probably good reason why Joe Wilson didn't talk to anyone in power in Niger.

Clearly the trip was a boondoggle and they didn't want to ruffle feathers with the State Dept and the Ambassador -who's job it was to talk to the government folks.

I would think since Wilson met with the Ambassador, they told him they already talked to the government folks and that the CIA should stay out of their business.

The bottom line which noone will say is Wilsons trip was totally and completely useless as an intelligence source.

He could have stayed home and provided the same information to the debriefer.


I'm reading old Empty Wheel and amusing myself because my husband isn't home yet. So...
Carl Ford resigned from State on Oct 3, 2003?
Right after the big revelation, and right when Kampwhathisname resigned as well. They knew about the trip at the time it took place, right?


"""Isn't it slightly weird all of these trips took place on or around the week of the 20th of February? 1999, 2000, 2002""

There is a school holiday in much of Europe
of two weeks during February. People like to take vacations, etc. They even vacation in Africa,.......


Larry Johnson has an article up:
Johnson confirms:

"In coordination with the U.S. Ambassador to Niger, Joe agreed to meet with only former officials who were witting of the uranium program.""

Joe only met with former officials at the request of the Ambassador. Larry thinks all the evidence just proves Joe Wilson right....I would say the Ambassador was blowing Wilson off. Sure, State agreed to the trip, but once he got to Niger, the Ambassador laid down the law and basically told Joe, you can talk to any CIVILIAN you want...have fun. He was neutured before his job started.

Of course John sees it entirely differently.


Larry Johnson on dope?:

"""There is nothing in this report to support the notion that Iraq had succeeded evading UN sanctions and purchased large quantities of yellowcake uranium. NOTHING!"""


I believe Bush said Iraq ATTEMPTED TO.....


Can you imagire what the left at FDL, etc. that are swallowing this bilge testimony would say if Cheney said:

The CIA never said Iraq had WMD, but over time, I just had this feeling in my stomach that they may have. You know, over time I just felt that they did.


I'm looking at the indictment and so far Fitzgerald's case is tracking chronologically with the allegations in it.

This is today,
11. On or about June 14, 2003, LIBBY met with a CIA briefer. During their conversation he expressed displeasure that CIA officials were making comments to reporters critical of the Vice President's office, and discussed with the briefer, among other things, "Joe Wilson" and his wife "Valerie Wilson," in the context of Wilson's trip to Niger.

All Fitz got on this was "I have no independent recollection" from Schmall. He was interviewed several times before he even began to think Valerie Wilson might have come up.
Same with Grenier. Although this is hilarious--
G I had a very clear memory of having been told that. What I couldn't remember was whether I conveyed that info to Mr. Libby. As I sat there, I remembered that and thought I had always remembered it. I was surprised. As is reflected in that transcript, I asked them to read it a second time.

Who does that sound like?

hit and run

Patrick R. Sullivan:
'Can somebody please enter a pic of Penelope Cruz into evidence?'

We true connoisseurs of las Madrilenas prefer Paz Vega.

ohhhhhhh...so this is what people mean when they say "visualize world peace".

OK, I'm in. I'll start visualizing Paz.

hit and run


ps.h&r- the mirror!! Ha ha ha ha ha

I was unfair to Joe. His love life consists of the mirror -- and his right hand.


His right hand?


To run his fingers through his hair, of course.

What were you thinking I meant?

hit and run

Quick - what was the most important thing you remember about December 22? How about December 28?

Last Friday?

Aha! I can do it!!!!

Dec 22 - drove across country for Christmas. Dec 28 - shot my first deer (the venison showed up in mail yesterday, the jalapeno cheese sausage is spectacular). Last Fri - I know I went to work, picked up a case of beer and two bottles of wine on my way home, but things start getting blurry around 6pm. After that, all I remember is waking up around 10 am on Sat with a big headache.

I sure hope no covert CIA operatives were outed between 6pm Fri and 10am Sat.


If this trial continues to be inane and Fitz fails to make a case yet the jury returns with a guilty verdict, can the judge set aside the verdict or will the polical nature require an appeals ct?

hit and run

I have gone back to try and reconstruct the events of last Friday night.

After carefully consideration, I have concluded that I did not spend the night with Penelope Cruz.


-- can the judge set aside the verdict --

There are multiple "short circuits" if you will, to the jury getting its way. Team Libby will move for a judgment of acquittal after the prosecution concludes its presentation, for one. There are other points in the procedural (short of appeal) where similar action can be requested and obtained.


hit and run
You are hilarious. A mirror and his right hand..... Thats funny enough to send to my deacon.


thanks cboldt
My memory of real knowledge and what I've seen on a screen seem to intermingle more and more these days. Can't always trust which is which. Its probably the same thing happening to Fitz' witnesses.


Won't it takt a great deal of courage for the judge to grant the motion for aquittal even if it is obvious that he should?


If Libby is convicted it will be a travesty. Anyone reading the testimony so far should get it that Fitz coddled together
a nothing case in order to go after a big fish.

Armitage wasn't big enough, Fliesher wasn't big enough so Fitz had to put fancy dresses on a pig of an indictment


-- Won't it takt a great deal of courage for the judge to grant the motion for aquittal even if it is obvious that he should? --

If it's obvious to the judge, he'll grant it. Given what I've read of Walton, I don't think he's "concerned" about being reversed on appeal (or afraid of political or other fallout) in a way that would cause him to shirk his role as a trial judge. He has a duty to grant the motion if the prosecution has presented a case that is not proper for a jury. There are a number of legal arguments that can be used in that regard, depending on what comes out during the prosecution's case in chief, but in general the jury's role is to choose between conflicting fact patterns presented at trial. If the defendant is not guilty regardless of the fact pattern chosen, then the defendant is not guilty (period) and the court won't waste the jury's time or risk a conviction based on something other than the facts.

I'm sure the regulars here will discuss this in more detail and with more care when the defense motion is filed. My summary above isn't carefully phrased, and therefore should be taken with a huge grain of salt. Anyway, Walton seems to be a fair and competent judge (even though I don't like his 2nd amendment jurisprudence).

Lew Clark

On December 22, I went to the CIA website and got a list of covert agents. On December 28 I called Bob Novak and gave him the list. Last Friday I called the FBI and lied and said Tim Russert did it. All because I'm a Republican. And that's what we do.


Byron York has a great artile on the first days of the Libby trial at NRO.


Thanks cboldt


Notice Larry's focus on non official officials. This is how larry operates. He uses persons in foreign companies overseas to do his 'dirtywork.' Fire that one, remnind that one, etc.

Notice Larry's trip to Africa after the assassination of the Leader in Africa, the follow up terror in London as he passed through. Classic Larry and maybe classic Wilson? If it's the same pattern it is dangerous and destructive to relationships with foreign companies and their employees and the US. Both went to Africa, go figure.

Wilson's trip totally useless? It couldn't be, the forgeries came out of the embassy in Italy, right?


'To this end, Mr. Wilson traveled to uranium-rich Niger in 1999'

Was he hired by his wife, CIA operations officer, paramilitarily trained at the DO; at CIA and contracted by CIA to go?


-- Thanks cboldt --

Wlcm. Just remember that my summary above is at best incomplete, in that there are numerous alternative arguments. Further, the "regardless of fact pattern" argument is amenable to significant shading that amounts to "no reasonable finder of fact would choose (pick a fact pattern presented at trial)." In other words, my brief summary is "wrong" when parsed certain ways -- although I believe it was a fair paraphrase of the principle behind the granting of a motion to grant a judgment of acquittal.

I'm quite confident in my predictions that the subject of motion to acquit will come up at the conclusion of Fitzgerald's case in chief, and that the regulars here will give a more complete and accurate exposition of the law at that time.


Parsed? Larry uses that alot too and that diet drug code thing too. Most already think that Fitz is throwing the whole thing and so it's Plame vindication again. Well, he can do what he wants and so can CIA, even if it's Russian.


Yorks article has an error at the beginning,so I quit reading:

"One of them, former CIA official Robert Grenier, testified that he told Lewis Libby that Valerie Plame Wilson worked for the CIA."

1. Both of them so testified
2. Grenier specifically testified he didn't know her name.

Other Tom

A motion for a judgment of acquittal at the close of the government's case is almost always made. As I recall, the standard the court applies at that point is someting like, "could a reasonable jury reasonably find, based on the evidence to this point, that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt?" If the answer is no for any count, that count is thrown out. For those counts that survive, the defense then proceeds with its case.

A comparable motion is made at the close of the entire case. If it is denied, and the case goes to the jury and the jury convicts, then the defense moves for a "judgment nothwithstanding the verdict," giving the judge another shot at throwing it out. It is not unheard-of for the court to deny the motion at the close of the case (expecting the jury to acquit), and then to grant the JNOV motion.


Apparently Grossmans' orginial testimony that he informed Libby via telephone calls didn't give Fitz the right dates for Libby to have been informed.

So all the sudden, low and behold, Grossmans testimony goes from telephone calls, to face to face meetings earlier in the timeline.....

this is a farce


Speaking of articles by Byron York, his January 25 one is very harsh on the Bush administration, in light of the Libby trial. Mostly from Libby throwing Rove under the bus.

White House revealed in utter disarray - Byron Your, Jan 25, 2007

Even the title of the article is harsh.


James Joyner on the moring so far

Reiteration that Schmall had “no independent memory” of the events in question, having only some very rough notes and the table of contents to jog his memory. Nor are there any emails or a briefing report, as would have been customary for something he considered particularly important.

Schmall reiterates that at the time he briefed Libby and Cheney about Mrs. Wilson, he had no information about her status as a covert agent.

Even after he had given sworn statements to the FBI and testified before the grand jury, he only vaguely remembers events that he has been involved in vis-a-vis this matter. Again, he’s been busy with his day job.

Cross-x ends at 9:40.

Redirect begins immediately.

During the first FBI interview, did you tell them about any conversations about the Kristoff and Pincus articles? “I didn’t have any independent memory of that.”

Concludes 9:43

Questions from the jury?

After a ridiculously long (over 30 minutes) pause, the judge finally called a recess at 10:15.

At return at 10:26, Judge Walton is denying a request from the jury to enter Schmall’s annotated table of contents into evidence, as it is not relevant to either side’s case. A modified version of the document, stripped of classified information, has already been admitted.

This is resulting in a lengthy back-and-forth with the defense insisting that it should be entered into evidence because it goes directly to Schmall’s credibility. The government contends that it is merely a back door way of getting in to the “memory defense,” which they are not legally permitted to do unless Libby testifies. It strikes me as obvious that the reason the defense wants to emphasize the document is, in fact, to point out how people’s memories of important things diminishes over time.


I'm sure York is starting to feel deceived. The guy's not that dumb. Hell think about the what the people that donated to the Libby Defense Fund are in for!

Incidentally-let's acknowledge that Wilson was right so long ago to claim Rove was one of the two SAOs cited by Novak in his infamous article.


York's article is pretty good though, except the end:

"From the very beginning, George W. Bush worked hard to avoid the sort of problem that is now facing his administration in the Libby matter. But it happened anyway. And now, there’s not much the president can do about it."

BS. It's never too late to come clean, Mr.President. Just call a press conference and spill everything there is to be known. Hell, I'd even take an immediate pardon of Libby for that deal.

The truth will serve the country far better than a Libby conviction.

Bush continues to handle this incorrectly.


Mary Wheeler's take is that Team Libby is trying to get the details of Libby's preoccupation into trial without the need for Libby to take the stand. Schmall was the one delivering these details, and even he couldn't recall Plame -- probably because she was an unimportant detail among a substantial volume of serious business.

"Walton just said that if Libby didn't testify it'd be suicide." I'm not sure I agree. I think Libby's team is doing a good job of showing how confusing the mass of information was, at the time - if it can present a clear picture of this without calling Libby, the better for Libby. Taking the stand in self-defense is a risky proposition, and a good defense will work hard to get its case in otherwise.

Lots of subsequent paraphrase at FDL.

JM Hanes

Across the Honduran highlands & the rural reaches of Guatamala, up the Usumacinta into Chiapas and out through the Infierno Verde of Tobasco to civilized (wi-fi) Mérida: Greetings! from the heart of Mayan meso-America. When it came down to the jungle of DC or the wilds of Central America, Door 2 seemed like the safe choice.

Sooo...whassa wich yoo guys?


Walton just said that if Libby didn't testify it'd be suicide."

I trust this was said outside the presence of the jury. Is this normal? I have never been in the courtroom where the judge has made remarks of this nature, concerning a defendant.


I respectfully disagree Cboldt. It's way too early of course to know for sure-but it seems Libby is going to have to have his credibility personally assessed by the jury to survive this thing.

And if Wheeler is accurate that's that what the judge said(!) I think it times two.


My point was that if Libby can get the general sense of his preoccupation into evidence, without having to take the stand, it's a good thing - not suicide.

If the impression in the mind of the juror at the conclusion of the prosecution case is that Libby was preoccupied, and Plame was a fleeting figment, it may (judgement call, read the jury) be the wiser move to not personally take the stand. Sure, he could reinforce the same point of preoccupation, but he'd also be open to cross examination and coming off as a prevaricator (he might also come across as perfectly honest - I'm just saying it's uncertainty and risky).

I'm sure the "suicide" comment was made out of jury earshot. Walton has been doing a pretty straight-up job.


When all the dust settles on this case, it will be the "visit from Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz" revelation that did Fittz in.

Now if Libby can mention a meeting with either Ricky Martin or Sean 'P. Diddy' Combs, Fitz will be heading for a NiFong-ing.

Appalled Moderate

Read the York article above (White House in disarray!). I guess I find that I am not terribly shocked that Libby feels like he was being made a scapegoat and is now going to trial saying this. Why?

1. Consider the context of how the Plame thing unfolded. Rove was fingered as one of the leakers (by Wilson) almost from the get-go. Fitz focused on Rove. Reporters focused on Rove. And the administration, through Fitzwater, denied Rove was one of Novak's sources -- when the opposite was true.

2. Fitz never indicted anyone who leaked to Novak. He did not indict the leaker to Cooper.

3. I really think Libby lied to the grand jury. (And, if he thought he was being scapegoated in this thing, he has some motive to lie.) And I think this case is an utter crock -- it was an investigation designed to come up with some indictments, rather than find out the truth. It is likely we are going to find out more about what really happened from the defense case, than we are from Fitz's small case presentation. How fouled up is that?

4. I am hoping for jury nullification on this one. But don't count on it.


"And, if he thought he was being scapegoated in this thing, he has some motive to lie"

That is entirely possible.


Fitz. That's a bit of spin. The notion that they were sitting around for a year with illegible copies.

Walton. He's saying as an officer of the court that he cannot read. If he's lying I'll punish him for it. If it's a lie, I'll punish him for it.

Wells. We started asking Saturday. There are multiple emails.

Walton. All I can say is to look at the originals and the copies to see who is right. If he's going to say he couldn't read them, I won't question that. You have been one of the most scrupulous prosecutors before me.

Does Walton seem pretty pro-Fitz here?

Other Tom

What's up with the judge asking the jurors if they have any questions for the witness before the witness is excused? Is this something new? It's routine in grand juries, but I can't recall encountering it in a trial. Anybody know anything about this practice?



In 25 years, I have never seen it. I have seen questions sent out to the judge after the jury is deliberating, but never during the actual trial.

Rick Ballard

Hi, JMH - welcome back - or at least back to contact.

Cathie Martin says she heard Joe's name from Harlow between May 6 and July 6. That makes Harlow's stutter step with Novak much more interesting.


Harlow was a little less friendly told me who was calling him, Mitchell and David Martin were working on story. Week of July 7.

Uh. Oh. Mitchell better duck and cover...who is David Martin?


More from Martin:

"Second call to Harlow to find out “who was continuing to call on this story.” OVP worried that press continued to tie Wilson’s trip to OVP even though not true. Harlow “a little less friendly and a little more reluctant.” Relayed that Andrea Mitchell and working on stories about this."

So here we find from Harlow that he was getting calls from AM and working on stories about this.

I can't wait to see her notes.


Hey Appalling Moderate-if you really do have an investigation geared up for nothing but indictments maybe you shouldn't make their job easier and commit perjury, ya think?

Congrats on being first to say: Ok Libby lied, but he should still get off. You won't be the last.


Sharing the fact that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA comes easy to Harlow.

The comments to this entry are closed.