When my pal Bill Dyer aka Beldar gets on a roll, the recommended course of action is to get on board, and make sure you catch every post.
First go to Dafydd ab Hugh’s post, here. Dafydd thinks Beldar and I are “allowing [our] legal brains to seize control from [our] ordinary citizens’ brains” in our support for Fitzgerald. Dafydd wants to know where Fitzgerald’s final report is. Dafydd says Fitzgerald should answer questions, in Congressional hearings if necessary, regarding whether a crime was committed in the Plame outing. He faults Fitzgerald for raising innuendo about Cheney without proving it, by arguing to the jury that there is a cloud over Cheney’s office. It’s a good post, and well worth your while; I can’t justly summarize it.
Beldar responds here. Again, read the whole thing, which I won’t try to summarize, but will just note a point or two in passing, as with Dafydd’s post. Beldar says that making Fitzgerald reveal the basis for all his decisionmaking would compromise the Special Prosecutor’s position:
And all you need do is look at the incredible volume of the guess-work already going on about this case, both from those arguing that he kept going to[o] far and from those who argue that he didn’t go far enough, to see how politics and public outcry might compromise the independent judgment a prosecutor is supposed to bring to bear. “He should have shut down!” insist some on the right, or “he should have indicted Armitage” insist others (also on the right). “He should have indicted Rove and Cheney! (And Impeach BushHitler!)” insist others on the left.
Beldar provides further information in this post to suggest that, any way you slice it, Fitzgerald won’t be giving this information up.
As for Fitzgerald’s reference in argument to a cloud over the Vice President’s office, Beldar says we need a transcript to see exactly what that means — but that it appears to mean something different from the way many seem to be taking it:
I would very much like to see a full transcript not only of Fitzgerald’s closing arguments, but those of Libby’s defense lawyers. FireDogLake’s live-blogged synopsis is the closest I’ve been able to find (through admittedly non-exhaustive web research). The context there suggests to me that Fitzgerald wasn’t referring to a political cloud of corruption, but rather, the “sand-in-the-eyes” metaphorical cloud from Libby’s obstruction of justice that obscured the Vice President’s actions from full investigation. I know that the MSM and the administration’s opponents and Fitzgerald’s critics are all eager to seize upon this as a political reference, but I can’t really decide which is more likely to have been intended without actual transcripts.
If, however, that comment was intended to be an attempt to suggest a broader conspiracy that implicated both Libby and the Vice President in vague and uncharged crimes, or even just in some reprehensible and shocking (but non-criminal) political conduct, then yes, it would have been a straying outside of the proper role of a prosecutor. At best, one can argue that under that interpretation of the comment, it reveals Fitzgerald’s otherwise tightly-repressed and -concealed political, non-prosecutorial motivations throughout the investigation and prosecution. Good-faith opinions on this concededly can differ. But personally, I just don’t buy that conclusion, or think this one remark can be used to sell it.
Read both posts in their entirety and make up your own mind who has the better argument.