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February 20, 2007

Comments

Sue

He got the covert stuff in under Libby's state of mind.

glenda waggoner

Great info-feel like I'm there-Clarice, again,the
notes about improper rebuttal filled in an empty
space. Evidently covert? Not good for prosecution-
neon sign-Won't check FDL-that and huffpost make
me nauseous. Anxiously awaiting comments on defense
close..

secarr

FDL has a bad habit of reporting what they want to hear when things aren't going the way they'd like. They do a pretty good job with witnesses, but they lose it entirely when the attorneys argue a point of law with the court. It looks like FDL is getting lost a bit on the closings or just don't want to hear/understand the points the defense is making. I suspect a lot of FDL spin is being added to closing arguments because this is where each side spins its case to the jury and it is easier for FDL to insert it's own (collective) spin here. It's not as easy to spin if you are relaying a witness' words. When relaying testimony FDL resorts to snark.

Chris

The other possibility is that Wells mentioned that at one time Libby feared that he was being made a scapegoat (when McClellan vouched for Rove but not Libby) and that is why Libby asked for and got a similar statement from McClellan. (Which is not very interesting but at least rational.)

That is the case. Libby feared at one time and wanted the public clearing like Rove got and went to VP to get it. That he went to Card and McClellan first and got "blown off" fed this state of mind. It did not mean there actually was such a plan to throw him under the bus so Z's "you saw no evidence of such a plan" was so much B.S.

Wells addressed this in his closing.

maryrose

Fitz has an erroneous view of Libby's state of mind. He also had false facts at presser of Libby being the first to leak. He is dead wrong on both assumptions. As usual a person who assumes makes an....

Chris

Wells addresses the Russert didn't read about Plame until July 14 Novak column---and points out the govt timeline is all wrong. Novak column out on newswires on July 11.

I think he's doing a terrific job.

boris

at one time Libby feared that he was being made a scapegoat

This has been my take since http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2006/04/waas_on_rove.html#comment-16781109" target="_blank">last May. It is an alternative to "coverup" to explain Libby's state of mind during the investigation.

Rick Ballard

Jeralyn is doing a better job than WetSwampDog by far.

Charlie (Colorado)

Did he also leave the keys to the liquor cabinet? OT and I need a bloody mary to get this day started!

I just had a V8 --- does that count?

Carol Herman

FROM CAROL HERMAN

JUDITH MILLER IS GONE! FDL lists the counts Wells is reviewing, copy & pasted below, with FDL snark.

Where's Waldo? And, Judith Miller is GONE!

Let me talk about Libby's defense. 5 counts. You're going to get a verdict sheet, 5 counts. elements will be discussed.

Count 1 Obstruction, based on Russert and Cooper [geez, at least Ted is predictable in his dishonesty]

Count 2 Tim Russert

Count 3 Cooper

Count 4 Russert

Count 5 Cooper

[In red] Libby had not been charge with leaking classified information.

Patrick

I think it was a good move to enter Eckenrode's testimony that Russert "could not rule it out" via stipulation. I gather he would be an otherwise difficult witness. I wonder why Fitz didn't want him on the stand?

sylvia

Theo, I agree this is one of the remaining mysteries about why Libby thought he was the fall guy for Rove. That's what makes me think there is more to this than meets the eye.

Cecil Turner

I wonder why Fitz didn't want him on the stand?

Eckenrode would be a disaster. He'd have to explain how he lost the most important notes in the case.

Carol Herman

FROM CAROL HERMAN

A clever vendor, outside the court house, now that the "Valentine's tee-shirt business" has passed its due; should have helium balloons of Sandy Berg(l)er for sale. With his pants loads of documents, you can put in and pull out of his sox all the way down to his shoes.

Just to show you how SELECTIVE this trial againt Libby really is.

And, perhaps, also explain why most Americans have tuned it out.

Chris

It seems clear to me, a big media frenzy over nothing, Libby sees Rove publicly cleared, knows he wasn't one of Novak's sources and wanted to be cleared, too, and like the 16 words retracting misstep the WH treated the outing allegation with more respect than it deserved (since like other false charges the Wilson story made a mockery of such a crime).

azaghal

If I'm able to understand the Government so far, could their theory be something along these lines:

As far as materiality goes, it could be that Libby learned about Plame through classified channels. Our investigation couldn't prove that, but that was because Libby lied and obstructed our investigation. We may well see a development of this on rebuttal. I find this argument weak because it asks the jury to speculate--what could Libby have been hiding?--without offering evidence that he was in actual fact hiding anything. Now wonder, if this is their theory, they're saving so much time for rebuttal.

I agree with OT about the impropriety of the statement that Plame "seemed" or "appeared to be" "covert." They are trying to once again get the jury to speculate on her status, but are not introducing evidence about it--especially, they are not addressing the five criteria for being covert.

Other Tom

Hard to tell what Z actually said about "covert." FDL thread is just unreadable. I took a look at Merritt's (TalkLeft) thread on Wells is fairly clear. Hate to say it, but it doesn't sound as though Wells was particularly well organized.

Christopher Fotos

from Jeralyn:

He [Wells] shows some clips of Russert and one of Imus.

Just for the record, I have completely lost track of what clips allegedly support or undermine something.

theo

Other Tom --

Oral arguments have to be heard, not read. Have you ever read one of Clarence Darrow's closings in print? Just all over the place. It is because he was reading the jury and figuring out what worked and what did not -- adding and dropping stuff as the mood in the room dictated. It makes for very confused reading but was electrifying to those who heard it.

I am not saying that Wells is Darrow. But closings really have to feed off the reactions of the jury and not simply be read as written.

maryrose

Wells needs to be at the top of his game today. It's showtime at the Apollo! Fitz is going down along with his 5 phony counts. Libby acquitted-I'll settle for nothing less.

Sara (Squiggler


CLOSING ARGUMENTS IN LIBBY CASE...

theo

Can someone explain that last sentence to me?

Pofarmer

FDL seems incomprehensible on Defense close

Not surprising.

Plame "seemed" covert? Isn't that a little over the top in a case that wasn't supposed to be about leaking?

theo

This sentence: The Rove theory allows defense attorneys to say that Libby felt wronged by the White House and was acting as an innocent man trying to clear his name.

Rick Ballard

I expect Jeffress to present the empirical case dispassionately. It should make a good contrast with Wells. The only problem is the after lunch torpor of the jury. Jeffress needs to jolt them a bit at the beginning. I'm hoping for something stinging on lack of materiality and motive.

John

Why the hell is defense given so little time to make its case, given the gravity of the charges?

theo

Rick Ballard --

I do not see materiality or lack of motive as strong points for the defense. I think "reasonable doubt" given all the various memory lapses of all the other witnesses is the key here.

On materiality and motive, I think the prosecution has made the point very well. Libby was very keen to testify that all he ever did was pass along reporter gossip to other reporters about Plame. His motive to lie here is pretty obvious. Thus, he would have a reason to invent a conversation in which a reporter told him about Plame. Without such a conversation, the "I only passed along reporter gossip" testimony makes no sense.

Carol Herman

FROM CAROL HERMAN

Here's my opinion, for what it's worth. When the prosecutors come back to "rebuttal," Fitz will try to "slam another PRESSER out of the park."

However? His first ball got lost. Didn't leave most Americans impressed that he was any Babe Ruth, ya know? Just a scam artist. Which has kept so many Americans away from looking into this trial.

What's missing? A referee worth his salt.

Pofarmer

Our investigation couldn't prove that, but that was because Libby lied and obstructed our investigation. We may well see a development of this on rebuttal. I find this argument weak because it asks the jury to speculate--what could Libby have been hiding?--without offering evidence that he was in actual fact hiding anything. Now wonder, if this is their theory, they're saving so much time for rebuttal.

Well, if that was their theory, it's certainly too bad they didn't introduce anything like evidence to back up the charge.

So, if your testimony somehow obstructs an investigation into a dead hole, is it still obstruction?

Pofarmer

Libby was very keen to testify that all he ever did was pass along reporter gossip to other reporters about Plame.

Once again I'll ask, with no hope of getting an answer.

Where was that contradicted?

jwest

“Why the hell is the defense given so little time to make its case…..”

John – I agree. Regardless of court procedure, Wells should say he will continue his summation until he feels that all the points have been covered sufficiently.

When Fitz objects and Walton sustains, the jury would be left feeling that Libby is being put at a disadvantage unfairly.

azaghal

hus, he would have a reason to invent a conversation in which a reporter told him about Plame. Without such a conversation, the "I only passed along reporter gossip" testimony makes no sense.

Posted by: theo | February 20, 2007 at 09:56 AM

In normal circs, which we all know these are not, "he would have a reason to invent a conversation" would be laughably short of beyond a reasonable doubt. Who would send a man to prison, ruin his life, because "he would have had a reason?" Mind boggling. Where's the beef?

theo

Pofarmer --

This issue was addressed when Clinton lied at his deposition in the Paula Jones civil case about other women. These were properly put questions to him and he lied under oath. Was it not perjury or obstruction because the Paula Jones case was later thrown out on a technicality? You make the call.

But it seems to me that an argument of "well yes, I lied to the grand jury during the course of their investigation, but I was not guilty of what they were investigating me for anyway, so it is okay" is not exactly a ringing defense.

Other Tom

As a technical matter, I don't think there's record evidence to establish that it makes and difference at all whether it was gossip or "official," and particularly whether it made any difference to Libby. But the jury really doesn't need any such evidence; they know what was going on. So I think materiality is going nowhere with them, and I'm not surprised Wells left it alone.

Yes, I have read Darrow's stuff. I think he rambled on for eight hours or so in Leopold and Loeb, and there was no jury. Quite remarkable.

azaghal

No argument from me, Pofarmer. It seems transparently clear that the prosecution's case is an appeal to the jury to speculate. The evidence that was introduced doesn't get close to BRD.

Carol Herman

FROM: CAROL HERMAN

There's gonna be a new GODWIN'S LAW

When Clinton's name comes up to reference "perjury" the jury acquits.

theo

Libby was very keen to testify that all he ever did was pass along reporter gossip to other reporters about Plame.

Once again I'll ask, with no hope of getting an answer.

Where was that contradicted?

Asked by Pofarmer

Pofarmer --

Both Cooper and Miller (I guess now out of the case) testified that Libby did not tell them he was passing along reporter gossip. (Their testimony however is in my view way too weak to send a man to jail.)

The crux of this case is that the prosecution contends that Libby lied when he said he heard it "as if for the first time" from Russert. They further contend that this lie was material in that it was necessary that he tell such a lie to continue with his "I only passed along reporter gossip" testimony.

Other Tom

Through the miracle of Google I learn that Darrow's closing was actually twelve hours. Mighty patient judge, but what the hell, it worked.

Theo, I think you're over-the-topping what the materiality argument would be. It would go something like, "and even if you disagree with me that Libby told the truth according to his best recollection, you still must return a not guilty verdict unless you think that what he did say was material to this investigation. But has anyone told you just what this investigation was all about? Were they trying to find out who leaked to Novak? Well, we already know who that was--it was Armitage." And so on...

theo

Other Tom -- You are right about the Leopold Lobe case. Darrow rambled and there was a judge and no jury. But he rambled in front of juries as well. My point remains that an argument does not have to read well to be effective.

The whole materiality argument is really a question: Material to what? It was not material to determining who leaked to Novak of course. But it was not "immaterial" in the sense that it was about his favorite flavor of ice cream either.

What about Clinton in the Paula Jones case? Are his lies under oath about other women (in answer to questions that the judge ruled he was required to answer) not material because the case was later dismissed on other grounds?

Ralph L.

Theo said:
But it seems to me that an argument of "well yes, I lied to the grand jury during the course of their investigation, but I was not guilty of what they were investigating me for anyway, so it is okay" is not exactly a ringing defense.
But Clinton's liaisons with female employees was material to the lawsuit. I only see materiality if Russert claims Libby told HIM about Plame.

Patrick R. Sullivan

'Why the hell is defense given so little time to make its case, given the gravity of the charges?'

It's his own choice, he wants to finish and leave enough time for Fitz to get his rebuttal in before 5:00. He doesn't want to have Fitz do a solo act tomorrow morning.

Pofarmer

But it seems to me that an argument of "well yes, I lied to the grand jury during the course of their investigation, but I was not guilty of what they were investigating me for anyway, so it is okay" is not exactly a ringing defense.

You missunderstood my snark there, Theo.
What if Libby told the truth as he remembered it, but it wasn't what the prosecution wanted to hear, because that ain't what they wanted to investigate?

Rick Ballard

"His motive to lie here is pretty obvious."

Well, that does it then. Thanks for staightening it out in such detail.

Carol Herman

FROM CAROL HERMAN

Do you know what an epiphany is?

It's fits Libby's state of mind, perfectly.

And, you've seen it played out many times. Let me refer you to the MOVIE: STALAG 17.

Where American prisoners of war were locked together; (if you guessed write IN STALAG 17.)

One, however, turned to the German's.

And, the epiphany? Was to FIGURE THIS OUT.

SO, here ya have a test in real life. (Without knowing yet, what the jurors will do.)

Since the structure of Fitz' case is to deny the existence of EPITPHANIES.

Shame on all you Irishmen! James Joyce is a world reknown specialist in describing epiphanies. Ya just gotta follow da' logic.

No. I'm not making this up. But so many lawyers get confused. They think rational people only carry big wallets, and they hire "experts" who know da' law. Couldn't be further from the truth, either. Let alone what's really ticked off so many Americans, they refuse to stick their noses in this pile of dog shit.

theo

Ralph --

I am sorry but I do not see any way to argue that Clinton's lies were "material" even though the lawsuit was later tossed on other grounds, but any lies that Libby told in this investigation are NOT material because Libby was not in fact the leaker.

I can accept an argument in either direction I suppose. But I think it is just special pleading to say that Clinton's lies were material and any of Libby's were not. Both lies (if they occurred in Libby's case) impeded the process of the investigation. In both cases, ultimately the outcome was unaffected by the lies.

Sorry, but I think people need to pick one side or the other of this materiality debate. If we end up saying "our guy's lies are not material and their guy's lies are" we are not better and no different from the FDLers.

Sara (Squiggler

I didn't follow the Clinton stuff with Paula Jones, but didn't Clinton settle for $850,000? I didn't realize, per Theo, that the case was thrown out.

theo

Pofarmer --

I am generally fluent in snark but I guess I missed that one.

Of course, if Libby told the truth as he recalled it, he is not guilty of anything. But the "materiality" defense is only relevant if he in fact lied. The jury never need think about materiality if they believe he told the truth. Thus the "materiality" defense is in fact a defense of "even if I lied it was not about anything important." Not a heart warming defense to be sure.

sylvia

Again, no one thinks this is strange??

Libby: I went to the vice president and said, you know, I was not the person who talked to Novak. "And he [said] something like, 'I know that.' And I said, you know, 'I learned this from Tim Russert.' And he sort of tilted his head to the side a little bit and then I may have in that conversation said, I talked to other -- I talked to people about it on the weekend," Libby said in apparent reference to his conversations with Cooper and Miller. …Fitzgerald asked: "And did he at any time tell you, 'Well, you didn't learn it from Tim Russert, you learned it from me? Back in June you and I talked about the wife working at the CIA?'" "No," Libby responded.

Anyone think this could be real and think Cheney and Libby didn't discuss that Cheney was the source? Again, there HAS to be some reason Libby chose Russert as the source. What it is, I'm not sure, but it points to a deeper motive than foregtting.

CAL

Theo,

How did Libbys 'lies' impede anything?

Pofarmer

"our guy's lies are not material and their guy's lies are" we are not better and no different from the FDLers.

Reread my comment, I still don't think our guy lied, I just don't think Fitz liked his answers.

CAL

Theo,

How did Libby impede anything?

Pofarmer

Sylivia,

It points to Fitz trying to create a conspiracy, and Cheney and Libby saying "Huuuuhhhh?"

Fitz is trying to construct a conspiracy out of thin air.

They were mentioning this stuff in passing, it was not a big part of the pushback. Therefore, a 2 hour meeting to go over the results of the NIE, but no coordinated effort to "out" anybody.

theo

CAL --

I am not sure that they did ultimately. I assume however that they at least impeded the investigation into who told what to which reporter and based on what information.

Again, if you take the position that to be material a lie must go to some major ultimate truth, this did not happen here. But I think the law in general is that people do not get to lie to the grand jury in response to proper questions and shrug it off as "well no one really got hurt." As was bandied about a lot during the Clinton impeachment, the "rule of law" demands that people give honest testimony.

Let me ask you: What did Clinton's lies in the Paula Jones deposition impede?

Aside to Sara -- The suit was thrown out on a technicality. However Clinton still settled to avoid either appeal or refiling (I forget which).

Sara (Squiggler

there HAS to be some reason Libby chose Russert as the source

I would suggest that the "some reason" is simply that he "chose Russert" because something Russert said gave Libby his epiphany that what he thought was about Wilson and his Niger trip was, in reporter's minds at least, about Val and her arranging the trip. In other words, he chose Russert because that is the truth of the matter.

sylvia

I don't know Pofarmer. These are Libby's own words. You think that conversation passes the smell test that something strange wasn't going on? I don't. That conversation is very incriminating to both of them in my view.

Pofarmer

Both Cooper and Miller (I guess now out of the case) testified that Libby did not tell them he was passing along reporter gossip

Well, apparently the Miller counts are gone, gone, gone. Great Glenn Campbell song, BTW. Gone, Gone, Gone, that is. But I digress.

And Cooper? Your gonna take Coopers word from whatever that little snippet of "notes" was, that seems to coroborate Libby's version more than Coopers? I honestly can't understand why Fitz brought the Cooper charges, unless it was just to flesh out the case in the event some of the other charges(like Miller) got thrown out.

sylvia

So you think Cheney bought that Libby told him he learned about Plame from Russert, when Cheney knew he told Libby? That conversation sounds like "yeah... we learned it from Russert... wink wink" to me.

Ralph L.

Sara, Paula Jones' suit was dismissed in the spring of 98, IIRC, before the actual impeachment, mostly because she couldn't show she'd been harmed by refusing to kiss it. My thought was that Monica got a paying job AFTER her blowing job, and Clinton claimed her oral services started after she was a paid employee. Thus his lie is material. I don't think the suit would have been dismissed if Jones could show the Clinton's girls were rewarded with better paying jobs. It was curious that he paid up $850,000 anyway. Does that happen often?

james

INAL, but it seems to me that in order for materiality to come into play, people have to know what crime is being investigated.

Theo says that a lie about ice cream would be immaterial; surely that cannot be said with certainty unless the person being questioned has some idea what is being investigated. Perhaps the crime is the theft of some ice cream.

theo

Sylvia --

You seem to think that this point

Fitzgerald asked: "And did he at any time tell you, 'Well, you didn't learn it from Tim Russert, you learned it from me? Back in June you and I talked about the wife working at the CIA?'" "No," Libby responded

is very incriminating.

I do not see why that would be so. Maybe Cheney forgot himself about that brief conversation over a month earlier. Or maybe Cheney did not chose to remind Libby of that point at that time. He was under no obligation to do so. How is it incriminating?

I read somewhere that Cheney was surprised when Libby even later told the VP that he (Cheney) had first told Libby. He must have had more important things to think about it than that.

Sara (Squiggler

I might be confused, but it seems to me that if you believe Libby lied about Russert to the GJ, then you have to believe that he also lied to the VP, his boss, when he told him he heard it from Russert.

maryrose

Theo;
Libby did not impede this investigation. Fitz was charged to find the leaker. He found two leakers Fleischer-no longer employed at WH and Armitage-after the fact. His main plan was to find soimeone in President Bush's office or VP Cheney's to take the fall and help Kerry win the WH in 04. It backfired on him and all he could get was a perjury trapped Libby who tried to honestly explain what he remembered during that time period. He indicted Libby hoping to flip Cheney-never happened.

Strick

"Let me ask you: What did Clinton's lies in the Paula Jones deposition impede?"

Theo, Jone's lawyers were trying to establish a pattern of sexual behavior. It apparently was material enough since, in the end, Clinton was forced to settle the Jones case out of court.

As for materiality in this case, from what I understand, it's the law that says that the "lie" must be relevant and material for there to be perjury. People aren't making that up just to defend Libby.

Carol Herman

FROM CAROL HERMAN

Here, let me guess. Fitz will come back in rebuttal, as a prosecutor, using the FBI, for "halp," attempts to idict a ham sandwich.

NOT KOSHER! That "appeal."

Can only happen in a court room where the only thing, so far, is that waltoon has a clock, that registers "time."

Leaving behind facts, how long will it take for the affirmative action elevator to go down on this trip?

Or, is Fitzgerald a faggot? A man that can't let go of a piece of ass. One he wants, because it's Jewish?

sylvia

"Maybe Cheney forgot himself about that brief conversation over a month earlier. Or maybe Cheney did not chose to remind Libby of that point at that time."

There was a direct order from the President to find out who leaked. I find it hard to believe that BOTH Cheney and Libby thought Libby learned it from Russert. That was after Libby spoke about Plame with other officials, Fleischer, Novak, and Miller. Although it may not be techinically incriminating, the strange way they spoke shows their frame of mind and that something else may have been going on.

Cecil Turner

They further contend that this lie was material in that it was necessary that he tell such a lie to continue with his "I only passed along reporter gossip" testimony.

The only problem with that is that it only makes sense if Libby thought it was a defense. He clearly didn't, and contended (correctly) that since he didn't know she was classified, he couldn't possibly be guilty of leaking. That makes the "lie" nonsensical, and would tend to indicate another explanation.

theo

Well I hope this will be my final word on "materiality."

If Libby told the truth as he best recalled it, "materiality" is irrelevant because he is not guilty any way you look at it.

Materiality ONLY matters if he told lies. I am VERY dubious of a defense argument that relies on materiality, because it is in essence an argument that says "any lies Libby told are not important enough to put him in jail for." The problem there is that our legal system depends on people telling the truth, not just when they deem it important to do so.

I do not think a lie to investigators during the course of investigation is immaterial just because the person who told the lie is not the person -- in this case the leaker -- that the investigation set out to identify.

sylvia

"I might be confused, but it seems to me that if you believe Libby lied about Russert to the GJ, then you have to believe that he also lied to the VP, his boss, when he told him he heard it from Russert."

My feeling is that there is more to this than meets the eye. I believe that Rove Cheney and Libby worked out in concert to settle on Russert as the first remembered source. That conversation with Cheney further enforces my opinion. There must have been some advantage to choose Russert over Miller, and Novak.

Pofarmer

Sylvia How?

Break it down.

Libby: I went to the vice president and said, you know, I was not the person who talked to Novak.

Cheney: "And he [said] something like, 'I know that.'

Libby: And I said, you know, 'I learned this from Tim Russert.'

Cheney: And he sort of tilted his head to the side a little bit.

Libby: and then I may have in that conversation said, "I talked to other -- I talked to people about it on the weekend," Libby said in apparent reference to his conversations with Cooper and Miller.(I'm not sure the italicised part is a proper assumption.)


Fitzgerald : "And did he at any time tell you, 'Well, you didn't learn it from Tim Russert, you learned it from me? Back in June you and I talked about the wife working at the CIA?'"

Libby: No.

Now, Libby had already told investigators that he heard it from Cheney, or someone in Cheney's office, then forgot it, then Russert jogged his memory. How is this not consistent with that?

Would the Vice President cock his head a little if he knew reporters were buzzing about this "Plame" angle?

jwest

The prosecution’s entire case is based on the theory that the OVP conspired to “out” Val as some form of retribution for Wilson’s op-ed. The “outing” is only plausible if Val was covert.

Now that Fitz has made this the centerpiece of his summary, why can’t Wells throw out any agreements and explain that Val wasn’t covert and there was not any underlying crime?

If Fitz is going to continue to imply it, Wells needs to counter it.

maryrose

Goldstein and Leonnig are at it again in fabricating what the prosecution is saying in their closing arguments. They say Libby made up 2 conversations that never happened. This is so obviously incorrect and fictitious. Their reasons are Libby wantd to avoid embarassing the WH. No one would risk their job or their livelihood over that drivel.The new Washington Post article in online and continues to distort the case.

CAL

Theo,

Clinton lied about sex in a sexual harassment suit. That is about as material as it gets. (Not to mention suborning perjury.)

Libby may have lied about his Russert conversation. Since neither Russert nor Libby claim Libby leaked about Plame to Russert, I have a hard time seeing the materiality of it to a leak investigation.

Nobody is claiming you should lie to a grand jury. The question is whether he did and if so does it rise to the level of perjury.

The problem I (and most people here) have is how did we get to this point? Fitz didn't go after the leakers and kept the investigation open for no reason. In the interim he managed to throw some harm on two people we know he had reason to dislike. Miller in jail for three months and Libby indicted on very shaky evidence.

Further, Fitz went out of his way to not interview potentially useful witnesses for Libby, but witnesses that would have been useful to an actual leak investigation.

So it seems Fitz was up to something other than actually investigating leaks.

Ralph L.

That's true, Theo, but if it's immaterial, it reduces his motive to lie, and an intentional lie must be proven, not just an error.

sylvia

Pofarmer, because they needed a first "outside" source so that they wouldn't pass along info from official sources. They could have chosen Novak or Miller, but Libby went with Russert. Now why, I don't know. Perhaps, if they referred to Novak or Miller, they were afraid that that would allow Fitz to dig into more information from them- whereas with Russert there was nothing more to mine. So they skipped those two and went to Russert. But I do think this was arranged.

michael scanlon

Don't know about you, but so far Wells seems pretty un-impressive in his summation. His lead off remark was: "I was sitting listening to prosecution listen to what I said, after a few minutes I said, maybe I was drunk..." Why would he want to put the idea that he was drunk into the mind of the jurors? Then he proceeds to say he has a letter in which the VP mentions Rove and no such mention of Rove is in the letter. Makes you wonder.
Fitz is going to have ball when he gets up.

Charlie (Colorado)

Fitz will come back in rebuttal, as a prosecutor, using the FBI, for "halp," attempts to idict a ham sandwich.

NOT KOSHER! That "appeal."

Well, certainly not. Not if it's a ham sandwich.

I mean, Mom's pretty Reform, but I know that much.

maryrose

CAL:
well said.

Pofarmer

why can’t Wells throw out any agreements and explain that Val wasn’t covert and there was not any underlying crime?

Because, apparently, nobody knows the truth of that matter, at least in this court. Fitz sure the hell ain't telling.

Sylvia,

I think you've gone off the deep end on conspiracy theories.

If Fitz had any evidence, don't you think he'd have, ya know, charged somebody on it? Once again, there's no there, there.

theo

CAL --

I agree with you that Clinton's lies about sex in a sexual harrassment suit were material at the time he made those lies. But after the lawsuit was thrown out of court on grounds that had nothing to do with his lies, were they still material?

If so, then any lies Libby told here were "material" as well. He told them (if he did) in the course of an investigation about conversations between government officials and the press. If he lied, he lied about those very things. As it turns out, if he had told what the prosecutors believe to be the truth -- if he said "I told Miller and Cooper and I never talked to Russert about it" he would not be prosecuted for anything.

It is slicing the cheese way too fine to argue that Clinton's lies were "material" because they were categorically part of the subject matter under investigation, even though in the end the investigation was called off for other reasons but also to argue that Libby's lies (if any) were not material, even though they were categorically part of the subject matter under investigation, because in the end the investigation revealed nothing.

I am absolutely convinced that the same answer must control for both the Clinton situation and this one. Any attempt to come out differently is just partisanship and not logic.

Alcibiades

Comments from FDL:

Other opinions from lunch: Jeralyn thinks Wells had great body language, Pach agrees, and thinks that Zeidenberg (who was apparently pacing in front of the jury) wasn't effective. Jane thinks Wells made a mistake in making this all about him, Wells, rather than Libby. And it appears that Wells has gotten his team into timing problems, because he took 20 minutes to respond to Zeidenberg, which he needed to present his case.
sylvia

Well maybe Pofarmer - but again - why Russert? Why did Libby say he was taking the fall for Rove? Why didn't Cheney object to the idea of Libby learning about Plame from Russert? It doesn't all add up.

Sara (Squiggler

I thought the "drunk" remark was a dig at Andrea Mitchell's denial using the "I must have been drunk" defense as to why she said, "Everyone knows," on Imus.

Pofarmer

Sylivia,

There was a whole FBI investigation before Fitz came along. Libby's story stays remarkeably consistent, especially on Russert.

maryrose

michael scanlon:
I think Wells' reference to being drunk is a slam at Andrea Mitchell saying something and then trying to refute it by saying she was drunk. That's what she did on the Imus show. Wells also showed tapes from Imus which call into question Russert and Mitchell's comments. The fix is in at NBC and everyone has their story straight except Imus.

Cecil Turner

If Fitz is going to continue to imply it, Wells needs to counter it.

Fitz very competently managed to sneak that in, along with a lot of irrelevant crap about the NIE, and kept the Defense from addressing the gaping holes in the theory. Bottom line is that there's no indication Libby knew anything about Plame was classified, that there's no possibility of a leaking crime without it, and that Libby knew that when he testified, and said so. Wells can counter with what he has, but it seems to me insufficient to override Fitz's prejudicial insinuations. Which suggests Libby isn't getting a fair trial.

Another Bob

maryrose: Did those tapes ever make it to the jury? Weren't they the ones played absent the jury to determine whether Mitchell could be called?

Pofarmer

Which suggests Libby isn't getting a fair trial.

Please don't tell me you just figured that out?

Alcibiades

theo,

I think a large part of the problem here is that the gov't has not proven its case about lying.

Yes, it is certainly possible to speculate that Libby lied. But none of that is proven beyond reasonable doubt. And there is no smoking gun like the blue dress, or the fact that Clinton's people tried to pressure Monica into committing perjury, something she told Linda Trip immediately afterwards.

IOW, there is far more evidence of Clinton's perjuries and dirty tricks. With Libby here, there is nothing material - and much of the rest can more simply be attributed to a faulty memory operating after several months. He said/he saids.

The simplest argument is the most eloquent is the clearest.

Fitz's argument might have worked fine if he had found something beyond this, to show that this was the anchor points for "the nefarious plot." But now he's just stuck with these points and a lot of frustration.

cathyf
Of course, if Libby told the truth as he recalled it, he is not guilty of anything. But the "materiality" defense is only relevant if he in fact lied. The jury never need think about materiality if they believe he told the truth. Thus the "materiality" defense is in fact a defense of "even if I lied it was not about anything important." Not a heart warming defense to be sure.
That's not the only sense of "materiality" that matters, Theo. There is also the witness who says, "The robber jumped into a beige sedan," and then later the robber gets caught and the car recovered and it turns out that the manufacturer calls that color "seafoam".

In the sense of an investigating the truth of the "I heard it from a reporter" theory, the investigators should have known that the differences between "Russert" and "Woodward" and "Miller" and "Novak" are immaterial in the same way that "beige" vs "eggshell" vs "cream" vs "seafoam" are not materially different.

If it were a robbery investigation, and witnesses said that the getaway car was "beige", and the policeman searching the DMV database only put in "beige" and not any of the other synonyms for beige, then they can't go back and charge the witnesses -- who accurately described what they saw -- with obstruction.

Fitzgerald's (successful) pleading to eliminate the memory expert was based upon the premise that it is common-sense knowledge that people can remember the content of a conversation accurately, while misremembering the person that they had the conversation with. So Fitzgerald has already stipulated that investigators knew better than to be misled if Libby made an attribution error, innocent or otherwise.

Over at FDL

Jeffress is pitching lightning.

So good that EW is having a difficult time keeping up verbatim.

Skip

The thing I think that most of you are missing on the materiality issue is that at the point that Libby testified before the grand jury, it was no longer a leak investigation. Fitz knew who the leaker was. It was a perjury investigation, and by definition everything's material to that.

Pofarmer

Fitz's argument might have worked fine if he had found something beyond this, to show that this was the anchor points for "the nefarious plot." But now he's just stuck with these points and a lot of frustration.

All smoke and no fire, as it were.

Sara (Squiggler

Sylvia, when Libby told the VP about Russert he also asked if the VP thought the OVP response should be revised to include the Plame info. This was done, I believe, because LIbby had suddenly keyed in on where reporters were taking the story from where Libby had been taking the story regarding Wilson and not Wilson's wife. Even at that point, the VP said no, let the CIA handle it in their statement. If Libby and the OVP were actually interested in promoting the Plame story rather than the Wilson story, it would have been included. It wasn't.

The problem isn't that Cheney didn't remind Libby he had told him a month earlier. Assume that both were aware of that. The problem was the dialog on the story had completely shifted and no amount of denial on the Wilson story was even being heard since the reporters only cared about the gossip on Plame. There was a wake up moment.

TexasToast

Maybe its the filter of live-blogging, but Z's argument was a well constructed narrative of the prosecution's case and Well's seemed to be .... well ... not. ISTM he argued: (1) the burden of proof; (2) that all we have is he said / she said; (3) that the VP "note" proves the defense's case; and (4) jury nullification (It was Rove who LIED!) - all in a rapid fire scatter shot sort of way.

Where is the defense's theory of the case in that argument? Where is the "competing narrative"? Where is the rebuttal of 9 vs 1? Are we trying to prove confusion with confusion?

Help me here, Libby fans.

maryrose

This was never about giving Libby a fair trial and I am appalled by the anything to win attitude of Fitz. He has become the true crusader for his" cause celebre" and the consequences could send an innocent man to prison. But as long as Fitz gets his" Win" all is right with the world.

Curly Smith

I think Cline needs to stress that Libby was interested in the ambassador not his wife.

Posted by: Sue | February 20, 2007 at 06:57 A

If only Libby had outed the other Wilson he'd have the perfect PC defense!

Sorry, I couldn't resist, now back to catching up...

Patrick

Interesting comment by Alcibiades, re: what those who saw the argument think. On the non-transcript, Wells didn't come off as well as he seems to have come in person. As far as timing, that can be trouble, but I believe "too little time" can be an asset to an attorney, because it forces him to focus.

Sue

If only Libby had outed the other Wilson he'd have the perfect PC defense!

::grin::

Ralph L.

Sara, he would have to assume the jurors had heard that outside the court.

Theo, I see your point. I would say an Ind. Coun. should not have invest. the Monica matter if Clinton had not encouraged perjury by Betty Currie--that moved it into his official role, not just Bill Clinton, private satyr and serial liar. But let's not give Clinton the satisfaction of talking about him.

Syl

re obstruction

I think fitz was mad because he had to get journalist testimony to see if it would corroborate Libby.

But passing along gossip re a cia employee's affiliation unless you know it's okay is no defense.

IOW fitz doesn't know what the h*ll he's talking about. Why make up a lie about something that is not a defense of your actions anyway.

Libby's problem is that fitz doesn't know sh*t.

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Wilson/Plame