Patterico's Pontifications

3/6/2007

Libby Guilty

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:44 pm



Scooter Libby has been found guilty of obstruction of justice, perjury, and making false statements to the FBI.

I didn’t follow the trial closely, but from what I’ve read, I have no particular reason to doubt the jury’s verdict.

Defying Jason Leopold, Fitzgerald says the investigation is done. In retrospect, it was quite a to-do over an “outing” that the prosecutor could never prove violated the law. But no matter how silly the investigation might be, you gotta tell the truth. Bill Clinton learned that — though he was never prosecuted — and now Scooter Libby has learned it too.

42 Responses to “Libby Guilty”

  1. “Timely” tell the truth, actually. And it’s a bad law, designed to help prosecutors use the grand jury power to entrap suspects for perjury and obstruction of justice when they cannot support a substantive charge.

    Some states, such as mine, allow rehabilitation of the perjurer if he eventually tells the truth before closing of evidence. That is the proper rule for a truth-finding process as opposed to a conviction-winning process.

    nk (db0112)

  2. Patterfucking douche. Face it, LIBBY IS GUILTY! WHO CARES IF IT IS OVER HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

    You’re a loser. Leopold did exactly what we he intended! His plan worked! HE’s a genius.

    Patterdicksmoker (3b7e29)

  3. Leopold rules!!!

    LEOPOLD

    LEOPOLD

    LEOPOLD

    Patterdicksmoker (3b7e29)

  4. Patterico, I wish you had followed this more, or at some point can give some thought to it. As Dostoevsky writes, “There was no money, there was no robbery, and there was no murder, either”.

    At risk of being boring (some would say no risk, a promise!!) I will summarize a few things as I understand them. I am happy to be corrected or to have some light or insight given that is not apparent to me.

    Mr. Fitzpatrick was given the job of investigating the “leak” of the identity of Joe Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame- a CIA employee, as potential political retribution for Wilson’s published attack of the Bush administration’s statement that Saddam had sought to buy uranium in Niger.

    We now know that before Scooter Libby said anything to anybody that Richard Armitage told Bob Woodward, who had it on tape. This was known relatively early in the investigation to Mr. Fitzpatrick, who kept silent on this fact, as did Mr. Armitage for many months. Scooter Libby was charged with perjury in that over 5 appearances before the grand jury, his recollections of conversations with several different reporters (each indiviual conversations) were different than the recollections of the reporters in question.

    There was no charge brought against anybody for “leaking” the identity of Ms. Plame, in fact, in the course of the trial it was never addressed whether she was indeed “under cover” to be outed, as she had been at Langley for several years- I believe more than 5 since her last assignment overseas. (It is hard for me to believe that someone drives in and out of Langley for 5 years in their own car is supposed to be covert).

    The identity of Ms. Plame was pertinent because the question was raised as to how Joe Wilson was given an intelligence investigation when that had never been his experience (though he had been an ambassador to an African country). One factor raised was the fact that his wife was an analyst within the CIA and she had recommended he be sent. This came to light after the story had been circulated that Wilson went to Niger at the request of the vice-president, which Cheney denied.

    Of further interest, when Wilson’s report was (finally) submitted to the CIA, what he found actually supported the claim that Saddam sought uranium, which was opposite his claim previously published in the press. (This is the finding of the Senate investigation).

    If Libby lied, he deserves conviction and appropriate punishment. But if he did lie, nothing in the testimony he “lied about” would have supported the contention that he was “the one” to “leak” her identity, and there was no need to “get back” at Joe Wilson or try to discredit him, because he did it himself and there was nothing material to “get back” at him for.

    From the linked article:

    One juror, Denis Collins, spoke to reporters after the verdict. Collins, a former newspaper reporter, said the jury had “a tremendous amount of sympathy for Mr. Libby” and some jurors would wonder aloud why other members of the administration – like political guru Karl Rove — were not prosecuted. Arguing that Libby “made bad judgments,” Collins said it “seemed like he was the fall guy.”

    Given the knowledge that Richard Armitage had revealed Plame’s identity prior to any instance where Libby would have, and that Libby was not charged with “leaking” her identity, this quote suggests a pre-conceived opinion of a sequestered juror that doesn’t realize the larger scope. If Libby was made “the fall guy” by the administration, it appears pretty stupid and unnecessary. It seems to me if Libby was made a “fall guy”, it was by Fitzpatrick to charge somebody with something. I suppose the claim would be that Libby and company didn’t know that Armitage had actually revealed the information earlier and so had reason to lie to “cover their tracks”, but as no charges were brought referring to revealing a secret identity, it still doesn’t look like Libby had anything to hide, unless the administration couldn’t figure out themselves that Plame wasn’t covert so couldn’t be “outed”.

    Meanwhile, the outing of CIA operatives using a charter airline, the revealing of a secret NSA surveillance program, and the destruction of classified documents by Sandy Berger have gone either without investigation or given token punishment.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  5. So the question is, why did he lie?

    Psyberian (de47c4)

  6. I didn’t follow the trial closely, but from what I’ve read, I have no particular reason to doubt the jury’s verdict.

    Just as well. If you had followed the trial closely and you believe that a conviction requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt, your blood would be boiling right about now.

    Tom Maguire’s blog JustOneMinute is required reading on this case.

    thirteen28 (1da714)

  7. My apology, Mr. Fitzgerald, not Fitzpatrick.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  8. Some states, such as mine, allow rehabilitation of the perjurer if he eventually tells the truth before closing of evidence. That is the proper rule for a truth-finding process as opposed to a conviction-winning process.

    No doubt that explains Karl Rove’s five visits to the witness box.

    Tracy (63e43e)

  9. Psyberian, Comment # 3, asked,

    “So the question is, why did he lie?”

    The “when” is more important than the “why”. If he had told the truth when first asked, we might have a different President now. And I say this as someone who likes George Bush and detests John Kerry. But the truth is the truth. Libby fell on his sword to protect the President’s re-election. Let’s see if he’s compensated with an immediate pardon or only clement placement in the Bureau of Prisons and a January 19, 2009 pardon.

    nk (db0112)

  10. It’s always sort of sad to me when the loyal party guy and sidekick to the real people in power ends up getting flushed. But, as Patterico said, it does sound like he was pretty guilty of the charges, odd though they may seem…

    David N. Scott (71e316)

  11. The “when” is more important than the “why”. If he had told the truth when first asked, we might have a different President now. And I say this as someone who likes George Bush and detests John Kerry. But the truth is the truth. Libby fell on his sword to protect the President’s re-election.

    How exactly did you determine that truth?

    thirteen28 (1da714)

  12. For some reason, I’ve always had problems understanding and following Maguire’s writing. As good a recap as I’ve seen is by Jack Kelly of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, here.

    diffus (e31755)

  13. I just clanced through the stories, but the one that quoted a juror as feeling that the charges were pretty minor, but “the law was clear” struck me. Sane people caught in a screwed up system.

    Yes, the perjury charge isn’t picayune, but the “telling a lie to a cop” felony(!) could convict a lot of us if they enforced it on, say, traffic tickets.

    Which, by the way, are more of a crime than Libby lied about.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  14. #10 – thanks for the link – it sums the case up very well.

    thirteen28 (1da714)

  15. Scooter Libby was charged with perjury in that over 5 appearances before the grand jury…

    He testified twice, I think.

    Tracy (63e43e)

  16. Comment #9,

    Well … you know … I’m almost ashamed to admit it but … like … you know … I followed the case?

    nk (db0112)

  17. Tracy,
    If it is twice, I stand corrected. Five is what I recall reading when the point was made that Fitzgerald had recalled witnesses multiple times, along the same lines that nk was stating.
    Even if he appeared only once, it seems strange to me why he would lie as I discussed above, and as the link in #10 discusses.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  18. 14 – so did I – and yet this is the first I’ve heard of the theory that Libby intentionally fell on his sword to protect Cheney or Bush. Would you care to back that theory up with some facts other than simply saying you followed the trial? Enlighten us.

    thirteen28 (1da714)

  19. nk-
    You may have followed the case, but I’m afraid there had to have been a heck of a lot more than Libby lieing about telling reporters if what we know now was to hurt the President.
    Yes, what would the election have been like if in 2003 Mr. Fitzgerald informed the world that Richard Armitage had been Mr. Novak’s source, that Valerie Plame was not covert so could not have been outed, and that Joe Wilson lied in his NYT piece??

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  20. Well, nothing is incontrovertible. But the prosecution’s theory was that Libby was called to the stand and lied and continued to lie up to November, 2004. And they proved it beyond a reasonable doubt according to the verdict. I did say in my Comment #1 that I don’t like the law. But I cannot disagree with the verdict.

    nk (db0112)

  21. And they proved it beyond a reasonable doubt according to the verdict.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on that one. Based on what I read of the trial, Fitzgerald did not prove Libby lied beyond a reasonable doubt. When ever single prosecution witness has memory problems, it’s pretty easy for me to believe that Libby himself could have also had memory problems and innocently misstated the facts. Unfortunately, he was the only one on trial for faulty recollections.

    thirteen28 (1da714)

  22. I would have taken the scenario that we knew “Libby lied” before the election, if we also knew with the same clarity and coverage the other facts surrounding the case.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  23. MD in Philly, #17,

    We cross-posted due to my one-finger typing. Don’t forget the way the MSM would have spun any “confession” by Libby in 2004’s Democrats’ wished-for “October Surprise”.

    nk (db0112)

  24. I believe it was in an earlier post by Maguire where the point was made concerning the irony of the jurors trying to remember the conflicting testimony over whose memory of previous events was correct.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  25. As to why he lied, I’ve been wondering the same thing.

    By the time he was interviewed, he had to have known that Plame’s identity/position weren’t protected under any of the secrecy laws… so, unlike Clinton, who lied in order to avoid giving Paula Jones ammunition in her legal fight, Libby seems to have been facing no legal problems related to any conversation he had with reporters. Libby also had to have known that Fitzgerald would have been talking with others in the Administration, and that they would have testified that they told Libby of Plame’s identity and role in all of this, so why would Libby, supposedly a smart guy, testify in a way that would contradict their testimony?

    And Libby had given a waiver of confidentiality to the reporters he had had discussions with… and he had to have known that Fitzgerald would have sought their testimony… and that they would contradict his lies. Could Libby have been so stupid as to rely on the like of Russert to keep their mouths shut?

    I see him as having nothing to gain from lying and with a high likelihood of his lies being found out… so why lie?

    Note that I’m saying he didn’t, just that I can’t see the motivation for doing so. And notwithstanding the claims of the Bush haters, I don’t see why Libby would have been willing to fall on his sword… just what was he supposed to be protecting Bush and/or Cheney from?

    steve sturm (d3e296)

  26. 22 – that’s one of the biggest ironies of all. The jurors knew they themselves had trouble recollecting testimony for which they had been a captive audience, but wouldn’t give Libby the benefit of the doubt that he might have had the same problem.

    thirteen28 (1da714)

  27. Apparently the left doesn’t even need to attempt to disguise a witch hunt these days. Scooter was guilty of working at the White House, everything else was just details. I am interested in reading the book, although I am mystified as to how having an author on the jury is acceptable.

    B Moe (83a62f)

  28. yes nk, that is why I qualified my statement with “if we also knew with the same clarity and coverage the other facts surrounding the case”, in the notion that we the people and the press would like to be well informed about the pertinent facts. (Cough, cough, sputter… If ALL the facts were know I think it looks bad for the Bush-slammers, but the likelihood is that you would be right, that the spin would look like a cyclone about Libby, et. al., and Joe Wilson would be Sec. of State and Valerie Plame would be National Security Advisor…….)

    I feel sorry for you, nk, I can type with 2 fingers…(But I do need to correct typos because my one finger is faster then the other and letters get mixed up).

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  29. And Libby had given a waiver of confidentiality to the reporters he had had discussions with

    That’s what I thought, including Judith Miller, who spent time in jail “protecting her source” that didn’t want protecting. (???)

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  30. Apparently, FOX news was in denial about this.

    Psyberian (de47c4)

  31. That’s BS Psyberian.

    Fox scrolled their headlines thru all the charges (one by one). Cherry-picking one of the headline graphics is a cheap lying trick.

    JohnE (3ed3cd)

  32. Patience. It’s only a matter of time till Cheney’s eating wet food from a bowl on the kitchen floor!

    Shimmy (4a011f)

  33. So Libby goes to jail while the scumbag Bill Clinton goes free and Hillary just keeps on lying. Justice, not even close! But then there’s Teddy Kennedy hiding under his mommy’s skirt after Chappaquiddick.

    Mescalero (493a4f)

  34. Patterico-

    (Obnoxious) posts #2 and #3 were not there last night, even though the time stamp says what it says. I wonder how that happened?

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  35. md in philly’s comments in 4 and 7 remind me of the joke about the two gay irishmen: patrick fitzgerald and gerald fitzpatrick.
    we got one! i wish it had been rove or cheney, and apparently the prosecutor doesn’t have another sealed indictment in his pocket like folks were saying, he’ll have to go back to the grand jury if his term hasn’t expired. maybe libby is properly incentivized to help now, if not, all he has to do is stay out of jail pending appeals until january 19, 2009 when bush will pardon him.

    assistant devil's advocate (91d093)

  36. I think Bubba was prosecuted. Impeached by the house, and tried by the Senate.

    He just got off, is all.

    mojo (8096f2)

  37. Psyberian asked:

    So the question is, why did he lie?

    My guess is that he was trying to prevent embarrassment for the Bush Administration prior to the election. Since he deinies that he lied, we can’t get an answer from him.

    It seems that Mr Libby lied about something that wasn’t a crime. I still don’t see why Mr Fitzgerald proceeded with the investigation, in which he was charged to find out who leaked the lovely Mrs Wilson’s secret identity to Robert Novak, when Richard Armitage (not exactly a tool of Dick Cheney) came to him on his first day as special prosecutor and confessed.

    Dana (3e4784)

  38. The ada wrote:

    we got one! i wish it had been rove or cheney, and apparently the prosecutor doesn’t have another sealed indictment in his pocket like folks were saying, he’ll have to go back to the grand jury if his term hasn’t expired.

    Maybe it was because, by not lying to investigators, Messrs Rove and Cheney didn’t commit any crimes!

    Dana (3e4784)

  39. Actually, what Libby learned, and what anyone paying attention to the case should have learned is that if you’re called before a grand jury your answer to every question should be “I’m sorry, but I don’t recall the events in question clearly enough to risk a perjury prosecution by an overzealous prosecutor”. Of course, this hurts the rule of law, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

    skip (5b0418)

  40. I am not convinced that he did lie, or rather, that he lied any more than anyone else who testified. I’d be much happier with ten or fifteen folk having guilty verdicts in this kind of mess, than one. This smells to me like “his ‘truths’ were not those that the prosecution wanted to hear” and that’s a horrible thing for both justice and an innocent.

    htom (412a17)

  41. #39 skip
    . . . except leave out the “I’m sorry, but” part. An overzealous prosecutor could turn that “apology” into admission of guilt.

    m (5c5273)

  42. I’m an editorial cartoonist from New Jersey, and here’s my take on the Libby conviction. By-the-way, I think Scooter should change his name before he enters prison for his own good!

    Here’s my cartoon: Click here

    Rob Tornoe (cc923f)


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