Patterico's Pontifications

3/12/2007

Beldar Responds to Dafydd

Filed under: Crime,General,Politics — Patterico @ 5:59 am



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.

42 Responses to “Beldar Responds to Dafydd”

  1. 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.

    Oh, please don’t tell me you’re serious. I’m begging.

    Christopher Fotos (f9677b)

  2. Post-trial comments from the jurors strengthens the possibility that the ‘cloud’ was an implied broader conspiracy.

    jpm100 (851d24)

  3. This is a political prosecution and the two parties most interested, those who hate Bush and will not be satisfied until his buttons are cut off and he is marched out of the White House to music of the Rogue’s March, and those who believe that Wilson and Plame were part of a war that the CIA waged on the administration since 9/11, will never reconcile their differences and the entire exercise is a waste of time. Of course, Libby’s life is ruined but he is a “collateral damage” victim of the war between anti-war Democrats and the rest of the country.

    Mike K (38ffc9)

  4. I caught Dafydd’s post yesterday and thought he made good points about you guy’s apparent bias P. Really, its worthy of your consideration. You have said you didn’t follow the story closely but you determined everything was okie dokie in your first (post-conviction) post.

    ‘I want to wait for the transcript’ is a nice dodge but you guys are posting about this now, and we aren’t going to have a transcript any time soon I’d guess. So you have to go with the live blogging from FDL because that’s what we have. Also, I’d add that stripped of the snark we have every reason to consider it accurate. People that (ahem) followed this closely had little to complain about regarding Marcy Wheeler’s work.

    Here’s that version in its full context:

    One more thing that corrborates. THe VP wrote week before that wife sent him on a junket. THe VP moves to number 1 talking point. You just think it’s coincidence that Cheney was writing this.

    There is a cloud over the VP. He wrote those columns, he had those meetings, He sent Libby off to the meeting with Judy. Where Plame was discussed. That cloud remains because the denfendant obstructed justice. That cloud was there. That cloud is something that we just can’t pretend isn’t there.

    Btw, maybe Russert and Cooper got confused.

    You sure you want to defend that as non-political P? As appropriate in a closing argument in DC in a criminal trial of a Bush admin member? You REALLY sure about that?

    ‘The VP this, The VP that, the VP the other thing, There’s a cloud over the VP. He did this, he did that, Libby obstructed.’

    Damn. You’d almost get the idea a very unpopular VP was on trial before that DC jury. Its certainly clear to me what he’s saying; the VP is crooked and Libby is covering for him.

    [Beldar’s statements on this strike me as about right. — P]

    Dwilkers (4f4ebf)

  5. At least one thing is clear, you have no doubts about the trial or the outcome. Hardly anyone would suggest an alternative meaning for ‘cloud over…”. We’ve all heard it before… again and again.

    IMO, you’re no more objective than I am… only a different bias.

    Bob Roof (8c0efd)

  6. Transcript of Fitzgerald’s closing.
    .
    Transcript of Fitzgerald’s post-trial presser
    .
    In his presser, Fitzgerald seems to be claiming that he is responding to the insinuation that HE (the investigation and indictment in general) is responsible for the cloud.
    .
    Even if it’s true that Fitzgerald is only responding to the insinuation that it’s a cloud of Fitzgerald’s construction, the mere mention of cloud over the OVP is certain to be taken as inflammatory by the defense.

    cboldt (a60d7f)

  7. Hate to say it, but the Big Lizard, and even Dwilkers, with whom I often disagree, have good points about ‘legal brains’ and the VP. I quit practicing law 3 years ago and sometimes I read, understand and approve of the legal reasoning of your arguments(and Beldar’s) while hating them.

    Note to all lawyers: When you start to sound like the Red Queen, slow down. Sometimes words mean exactly what they mean.

    To an informed non-legal private citizen this looks too much like a political persecution, not a fair prosecution. Many of us are uncomfortable and nervous.

    We know that in real life, when someone reports a crime, and the report was false in that no crime was committed, the false reporter gets investigated and charged. Not the various people who gave incorrect information in the course of the investigation. All the cops I know have a very high tolerance for witnesses telling them ‘false’ things.

    Go on, call the cops and tell them someone stole your car when it’s actually in your garage. Tell them you think maybe your neighbor, a guy named Libby, did it. Even if your neighbor tells some nose stretchers to the cops about the car, it’s you they’re going to charge when they find it in your garage.

    Scooter Libby may not be innocent, but Fitzgerald looks bad and the system failed.

    “Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done.”

    BlacquesJacquesShellacques (83acf5)

  8. — To an informed non-legal private citizen this looks too much like a political persecution, not a fair prosecution. —
    .
    Proof of the power of partisan political propaganda passing itself off as objective observation.
    .
    If the investigation is bogus, why aren’t you slamming Ashcroft and Bush for calling it “important?” Why should they have to bring in an outsider to make the assertion that the CIA made a false report? If it’s so bloody clear that the leak wasn’t criminal, why give Fitzgerald the assignment in the first place?
    .
    Then Fitz comes in, finds Libby and Rove have lied to investigators (that’s his finding, now proved to a jury as to Libby), and he’s supposed to do … what?
    .
    I predict that Fitzgerald will pay a price. The administration will have him either on the street, or assigned to an office in the basement. The right wing will cheer the payback as righteous.
    .
    And THAT will be the politicization of the law.

    cboldt (a60d7f)

  9. If the investigation is bogus, why aren’t you slamming Ashcroft and Bush for calling it “important?” Why should they have to bring in an outsider to make the assertion that the CIA made a false report? If it’s so bloody clear that the leak wasn’t criminal, why give Fitzgerald the assignment in the first place?

    I can’t speak for #7, but for myself let me be the first here to slam Ashcroft and Bush for an act of total political cowardice. Bush panicked and backed away from a statement that was well founded and panicked when the left made a big deal out of Plame’s name, never mind that she was the answer to a most obvious question concerning the matter.

    Ashcroft could have nipped this whole thing in the bud from the outset, but also bowed to political pressure.

    The actions by both Bush and Ashcroft gave this whole nothing scandal a legitimacy it never deserved and led to an investigation that should have never occurred in the first place.

    I predict that Fitzgerald will pay a price. The administration will have him either on the street, or assigned to an office in the basement. The right wing will cheer the payback as righteous.

    An administration this politically cowardly totally lacks the balls to do such a thing. The earliest that Fitzgerald will pay a price is in January 2009, but he’s home free until then.

    thirteen28 (5ad670)

  10. — The actions by both Bush and Ashcroft gave this whole nothing scandal a legitimacy it never deserved and led to an investigation that should have never occurred in the first place. —
    .
    And Fitzgerald gets blamed for not propagating THEIR whitewash.

    cboldt (a60d7f)

  11. 10 – what whitewash is that? From where I sit, giving legitimacy to an illegitimate scandal hardly constitutes a whitewash. Obviously, I’m not defending Bush or Ashcroft, but I think whitwashing this whole thing is the last thing you could accuse them of.

    And despite acknowledging their cowardice in letting it progress to appointment of Fitz in the first place, that does not mean Fitz gets a blank check for everything he did thereafter.

    thirteen28 (5ad670)

  12. The whitewash Fitzgerald FAILED to deliver (but he would have, if the witnesses hadn’t lied) was a no-bill.
    .
    He was supposed to deliver a no-bill, because there was no criminal leak. And as we learned from the Clintons, if there is no proof of criminal conduct, there is no wrong.
    .
    That whitewash.

    cboldt (a60d7f)

  13. For my part I think Ashcroft did what seemed to be the right thing to do at the time. I thought recusing was the correct move when the investigation was brushing up against Rove as Rove had worked for Ashcroft in a campaign some years before. It created at least the appearance of a conflict of interest.

    And assuming they really did have reason to believe Libby and others were shading the truth they could hardly have no-billed this.

    Its a dilemma. You can’t have a WH investigating itself, but these SP’s tend to run amok. We’ll get a taste of what its like to experience it the other way during the next admin because its predictable no sane admin is going to appoint a SP like this again – and we’ll be able to thank Walsh, Starr and Fitz for that.

    Dwilkers (4f4ebf)

  14. 12 – I think we’re talking past each other.

    Do you believe there was a scandal here before any investigation began? Not just Fitz, but before the FBI sent investigators out to question witnesses like Libby.

    Do you think Bush should have said this is an important investigation, when the WH was legitimately responding to a critic (not to mention one who was demonstrably wrong in his criticisms)?

    And do you think Ashcroft should have let this go forward when he could have easily contacted the CIA to determine Plame’s status?

    thirteen28 (5ad670)

  15. BTW, cboldt, I’ll grant you that Fitz shouldn’t have no-billed this if he legitimately believed Libby lied. But that’s a different argument.

    thirteen28 (5ad670)

  16. 14 – I think we’re talking past each other –
    .
    Not really. Hashing out the thought I had behind the word “whitewash” was probably necessary. I was thinking that “the whitewash” was the “no bill” outcome expected/intended by the parties that commissioned the process, and you were thinking the very existence of the process means “no whitewash.” I’m still not sure my point is clear, but that’s par for the course.
    .
    The thrust of my posts has been to express my opinion that it’s incorrect at best, and in some cases a deliberate cheap shot, to blame Fitzgerald for the way this mess unfolded.
    .
    My view is in the minority of “righties.” Fitzgerald has been formally accused of misconduct by Ms. Feldman, for example, and there are many who support the charges she’s expressed. The right would cheer his being fired, and some on the right say that if President Bush doesn’t fire Fitzgerald, it’s a sign of extreme weakness on President Bush’s part.
    .
    Viva la difference.

    cboldt (a60d7f)

  17. My view is in the minority of “righties.” Fitzgerald has been formally accused of misconduct by Ms. Feldman, for example, and there are many who support the charges she’s expressed.

    Then we move onto the next argument.

    Whether it rises to the level of misconduct or just a lack of thoroughness, I have problems with Fitzgerald not questioning Andrea Mitchell in light of what she said on Imus as well as Russert’s original statements to the FBI. It doesn’t look as if he was too anxious to test the theory of his case before going to trial.

    I have a much bigger problem with conduct surrounding Russert’s affidavit. Russert omitted critical details from his affidavit in his attempt to quash Fitzgerald’s subpeona, and Fitz essentially covered for him later on.

    If it’s wrong to lie to a grand jury, isn’t it just as wrong to submit a misleading (and therefore deceptvive) affidavit? Given that you haven’t cut Libby any slack in this case, why does Russert get a pass for his conduct?

    And further, by not taking Russert to task for the affidavit, Fitzgerald has in essence covered for him. If it’s wrong to call Fitz on his failure to whitewash Libby’s alleged perjury, then the same logic should apply for his failure to take Russert to task for his misleading affidavit.

    thirteen28 (5ad670)

  18. — If it’s wrong to call Fitz on his failure to whitewash Libby’s alleged perjury —
    .
    You were right. We’re talking past each other as to the meaning of “whitewash.”
    .
    On the subject of Russert and Mitchell, while I disagree with them, I’m fine with your adhering to the conclusions you’ve reached.

    cboldt (a60d7f)

  19. My personal opinion is that Fitzgerald should not have prosecuted Libby once Fitzgerald had concluded that there was no crime either directly associated with his original charge or directly related to the substance of the original charge. Instead, I think he should have referred it to the DoJ for followup, written his report, and been done.

    Being a bit snarky, I would suggest that Libby could have then retained Sandy Berger to review the DoJ case, at which it would have disappeared.

    jim (6482d8)

  20. Well, I’m convinced. We must have perjury trials to make sure people don’t lie under oath. Sure this will make people fearful of testifying, but that is unavoidable unless we develop a reliable lie detector.

    Furthermore people should be very careful to label all guesses as guesses and all vague memories as vague, and if their memories are poor, they may have to so label all of them. This actually sounds like a benefit. Due to rehearsals, witnesses already should more confident than they should.

    More troubling is the charge Martha Stewart faced. It looks to me as if I should have a lawyer present anytime I speak to an investigator.

    Yours,
    Wince

    Wince and Nod (931cf0)

  21. …witnesses already sound more confident than they should….

    Sorry.

    Wince and Nod (931cf0)

  22. Is the Link for Fitzgerald in #6 really him? If so, or an accurate representation, at one point he says this:

    But to them, she wasn’t Valerie Wilson. She wasn’t a person. She wasn’t the CIA employee that she was. She was an argument, a fact to use against Joe Wilson. Joe Wilson dared to criticize. You know, we keep hearing about the merits. Remember one thing. The two things that Mr. Jeffress keeps pointing out with Mr. Wilson, Mr. Wilson says about himself. Read his op-ed.

    But in any event, he raised the question and they thought the fact that his wife worked at the CIA was important for a couple of reasons. One, it casts suspicion of who Joe Wilson was. How he got the job. He got sent because of the wife.

    That’s the way of looking at undercutting it. That’s one way to look at it, and that was a fact they looked at. The second thing was, what was all the hullabaloo about? What were they really angry about? People kept saying or people kept thinking or people kept interpreting the Vice President sent him. What was important? Who sent him? The question who sent him was hugely important because they wanted everyone to know it wasn’t the Vice President.

    What was the answer to the important question who sent him? The wife. That’s what they understood. So Wilson’s wife was an answer, a fact, an argument, the type of thing that the defendant remembers.

    So, was she important as a person? No. But don’t buy into this false spread. Oh, Wilson was using important, a devastating attack of the Administration, a direct attack on the credibility for the White House, the Vice President and the defendant.

    If this is really what he said in the closing argument, he is claiming that Joe Wilson had made a “devastating attack on the Administration”. BUT, don’t we know that Wilson’s attack was found not to reliable, that that the only way in which it was “devastating” is that it got in the media, where the idea largely continues to exist that Wilson was an honest public servant and the administration “outed her and put her life in danger to get revenge”.

    A few things, not exhaustive:
    1. If that is really part of Fitzgerald’s closing argument, is that not at least “a distortion”?
    2. Why did the admin need to do any political
    “dirty tricks” if simply making the facts known (eventually) would show Wilson to be lying?
    3. If Plame was not covert (as suggested by being at Langley for 5 years), and not a crime to release her identity, why would the admin need to “leak it” at all, just be out with it.

    (If this indeed is the text of Fitzgerald’s closing argument) he puts forth the central thesis that Wilson made a credible and “devastating” attack on the Bush Administration, giving them reason to find a way to “undermine” Wilson’s credibility to minimize political damage. So, it made sense that there would be lying to cover up tracks of an underhanded attempt of political maneuvering.

    What would have been the outcome, at least in the public perception, if Fitzgerald had reviewed all of the evidence he had for perjury, asking for a conviction of perjury whether or not Wilson’s attack was valid?

    The biggest thing against Libby that I find in the whole thing was his own attorney making the claim early that Libby was the “fall guy” and he would call others to the stand. That appears at first glance to say, “Yeah, he did it, but the real blame is on Cheney and Bush and Rove, the people you REALLY hate. So let my client go.”

    Either that is really the truth, or it was an attempt to deflect anger from Libby and get the jury to be “compassionate” to Libby. If it is the truth, the administration is worse than people think, making a scandal out of something that wasn’t.

    I still say the real political dirty tricks came from the CIA, Plame, Wilson, and “the Media” in sending someone to Niger to provide a report
    critical of the administration, they got caught, but landed the pre-emptive strike in the PR campaign on the truth.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  23. cboldt: You say “If the investigation is bogus, why aren’t you slamming Ashcroft and Bush for calling it “important?” Why should they have to bring in an outsider to make the assertion that the CIA made a false report? If it’s so bloody clear that the leak wasn’t criminal, why give Fitzgerald the assignment in the first place?”

    In order: You are right. I’m lost on your CIA comment. Because too many conservatives are gutless wonders or even worse reasons reflecting badly on conservatives.

    Let’s assume they’re all bad rascals until Fitz comes along. Fitz should have put it right. He did not, he appears to have made it worse.

    BlacquesJacquesShellacques (83acf5)

  24. — I’m lost on your CIA comment. —
    .
    It’s shorthand for the contention that the CIA knew or should have known that Plame wasn’t covert, and that the referral itself (possible leak of classified information) wasn’t righteous. Thats what makes the FBI investigation and Fitzgerald’s pickup of the FBI investigation “bogus.”
    .
    — Fitz should have put it right. —
    .
    Then Fitz comes in, finds Libby and Rove have lied to investigators (that’s his finding, now proved to a jury as to Libby), and he’s supposed to do … what?

    cboldt (a60d7f)

  25. cboldt: he should have promptly decided whether to prosecute Libby. If yes, he should have done it fast and clean. We are now stuck with the suggestion that the conviction for ‘lying to the FBI’ (what kind of dumbass crime is that anyway?) was assisted by the whole ugly kerfuffle.

    I am also stuck on the point that clearly bothers many. Why would any of these guys lie? There was no crime. I know some say that is arguable but the statute seems clear and Armitage never got prosecuted.

    If Libby lied then maybe he deserved a conviction for sheer stupidity, although I hate to see the system work that way.

    BlacquesJacquesShellacques (83acf5)

  26. — Why would any of these guys lie? There was no crime. —
    .
    I’m sure it was a fairly complex calculus, but I see possible motive short of crime. The political environment was (still is, come to think of it) pretty intense on the subject. Libby still implicitly denies having leaked to reporters. The WH won’t talk about it, one way or the other, etc. If it wasn’t a big deal, why don’t they just today up and publicly admit they did it? Read the WH pressers on the subject in one sitting – check the September 2003 Congressional Record for comments.
    .
    Then there is the “opportunity” side of the equation. What’s the chance of being caught in a lie? Of even if caught, of being prosecuted for lying?
    .
    Rhetorical questions, meant just to share some ideas in my head, and not offered for the sake of persuading you or anybody else.

    cboldt (a60d7f)

  27. I read Fitz’ bio from the link at 6 above. His wish list is linked to the Whitehouse web site and I don’t think he is planning to run for president. Go back to his first available blog on Nov 7, 2005 http://web.archive.org/web/20051107075636/http://patrickjfitzgerald.blogspot.com/. One of his links is titled “Deeper water, bigger fish” Another: “Raw Story has a big red font and timely headlines. I am a household name now.”

    BTW, Fitz says in “About me” he has a new girlfriend. I’m surprised he is willing to share himself with anybody else.

    [Uh, you do realize that’s not a serious site, right? — P]

    Retiree (0c909a)

  28. I’m sure this has been said before but I’m confused. Since Fitzgerald knew who the leaker was (Armitage) before the investigation even got going why did it proceed? Why wasn’t it dropped immediately?

    Capitalist Infidel (fffac6)

  29. cboldt:”If it wasn’t a big deal, why don’t they just today up and publicly admit they did it?”

    Who is ‘they’? Bush/Rove, Cheney/Libby, Powell/Armitage or the whole administration, of which they all form a part?

    Initially, am I correct that none of those ‘theys’ knew who ‘leaked’, except Powell/Armitage, and so could not respond at all? When did Libby find out it was Armitage?

    As for the present time, you’re right. The administration should forthrightly say they had the right to ‘leak’ to defend against Wilson’s nonsense.

    Like I said, conservative chickens. They should have smacked Wilson and Plame early and often, and straight up.

    I do not like what Fitzgerald has done but I don’t like ‘leaking’ either, even if they both are legal. If ‘they’ were pissed off at Plame/Wilson, they should have done their homework, had a press conference and said why, plainly and forcefully.

    BlacquesJacquesShellacques (83acf5)

  30. — Uh, you do realize that’s not a serious site, right? —
    .
    Indubitably. But the transcript of the closing statement is accurate.

    cboldt (a60d7f)

  31. Capitalist Infidel, thats what we have been arguing here, in previous posts her and at Beldarblog.

    I say it’s because Fitz is a turkey, lot’s of good argument that it’s because Fitz is hardworking and thorough.

    BlacquesJacquesShellacques (83acf5)

  32. — Who is `they’? —
    .
    Libby and Rove. Armitage already admitted it. Miller has said that Libby told her, Cooper has said that Rove told him, etc. But Libby and Rove don’t expressly admit that they leaked. Libby is, according to his counsel, completely innocent of the charges. That assertion can be parsed a few different ways, but it sure isn’t an admission that he knew Mrs. Wilson worked at the CIA, at the time he (Libby) met with Miller on July 8th, June 23rd or July 12th.

    cboldt (a60d7f)

  33. cboldt: As for the Fitz/Libby matter, whether Rove ‘leaked’ or not doesn’t matter. I only parse ‘completely innocent of the charges’ one way, namely ‘Libby did not intentionally lie’.

    As for whether Libby did or did not ‘leak’ how does it matter to Fitz/Libby as Libby wasn’t charged with leaking.

    It does matter politically, maybe, if done as part of a plot to discredit. It that’s the plot, the administration makes the keystone kops look good. Three uncoordinated leakers, not apparently knowing of each other and not knowing they can announce the facts openly and with trumpets blaring? That’s not a plot, that’s a comedy.

    BlacquesJacquesShellacques (83acf5)

  34. cboldt has his agenda that doesn’t include figuring out why Wilson would lie his way up one side of Pennsylvania Avenue and down the other. The State Department and the CIA have their goals, one of which is getting a job with the Saudis when they retire, sort of like Wilson, himself. These people have a lot of loyalties but the good ol’ USA is way down the list.

    Mike K (38ffc9)

  35. – Uh, you do realize that’s not a serious site, right? –
    .
    Indubitably. But the transcript of the closing statement is accurate

    Please help my confusion. I had a hard time believing it was a serious site, but the alleged transcript appeared to be the real thing when compared to firedoglake.

    Is the transcript accurate, does anybody know, for sure? It seemed they would have made it more outlandish if it was a gag.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  36. Me: Libby still implicitly denies having leaked to reporters. The WH won’t talk about it, one way or the other, etc. If it wasn’t a big deal, why don’t they just today up and publicly admit they did it?
    .
    Reader’s Later Response: As for whether Libby did or did not `leak’ how does it matter to Fitz/Libby as Libby wasn’t charged with leaking.
    .
    Ahh, subject transmogrification.
    .
    My thoughts as to motive other than criminal leaking are reasonably well outlined in upthread posts (not necessarily well stated, but there you go), if anybody wants to read carefully and sort it out. Else, as I said, “Rhetorical questions, meant just to share some ideas in my head, and not offered for the sake of persuading you or anybody else.”

    cboldt (a60d7f)

  37. Those comments were not technically speaking, made in the prosecution’s “closing”. They were made in his rebuttal, but they rebutted nothing in the defense closing, went far beyond the record evidence of the case and , indeed, resulted in a judicial admonishment–too weak to undo the prejudicial effect of such an inflammatory, politically charged statement made to a jury largely composed of registered Democrats, many of whom like juror Denis Collins had bought the very distorted view peddled by people like the NBC pressies who were at the heart of this case and yet unethically continued to report on it.
    The defense had filed a motion in advance of closing, warning the judge that this is precisely what the prosecution would do.

    Another reason why it would be a good idea to know what you’re talking about before you take a position.

    [I don’t know to whom this comment is addressed, but a few points. First, the term “closing” is commonly used to refer to the entirety of the prosecutor’s argument: both opening argument and rebuttal. If, say, a prosecutor did his opening argument (not opening statement) before lunch, but had not done his rebuttal, and a colleague asked: “did you do your closing?” the answer would not be an unqualified yes, but rather: “Well, I did my opening argument, but I still have to do my rebuttal.” If it was directed at me, please understand that I knew this argument was made in Fitz’s rebuttal.

    Second: Fitz’s argument sure looks like rebuttal to me — both as a) a response to defense arguments about a “cloud” and b) an argument about why Libby would remember this.

    A little less haughtiness, please. We’re perhaps not as uninformed as you think. — P]

    clarice (c49871)

  38. If you want to see unethical read Fitz’ Nov 16 filinf w/ the Court. There he continues to misrepresent the circumstances under which Russert testified, suggesting it was hard to get him to talk, he did so only after the Libby waiver letter and conversations between their counsel, hiding once again–as he did to the Hogan court–that Russert had already talked to the FBI investigators. While a summary of those interviews which indicated Russert said (at a point far closer in time to the purported conversation w/ Libby) that he could not rule out the possibility that he did tell Libby about Plame, the original notes were said to be missing and the FBI agent who interviewed him, Eckenrode, was never called as a government witness.

    clarice (c49871)

  39. In post #35 I asked whether the “transcript of the closing statement was accurate” as found at the linked “Fitzgerald” web site. I don’t know if clarice in #37 was responding to me or not.

    I’m not sure if this was meant for me also or not: “Another reason why it would be a good idea to know what you’re talking about before you take a position.”

    If it was, I beg patience, as I come to this site to become educated and informed about legal things that make little sense once they come through the media filter. (Just as much about medicine is off-base when it comes through the media filter, but being a doctor I can judge that for myself.)

    As the non-lawyer but awake and interested citizen I want to know how to think about misinformation such as the following (my feelings are much stronger than “misinformation” may suggest) from the current US News and World Report:

    A Flurry of Bad News for the President
    By Kenneth T. Walsh
    Posted 3/11/07
    Lewis “Scooter” Libby is no longer the jaunty gamecock of the West Wing. … But the Libby verdict in the CIA leak case-guilty on four of five felony counts of lying and obstructing justice-went beyond the familiar Washington soap opera about how the mighty can fall. It was the latest example of an entire presidency in decline.

    Vice President Dick Cheney, who was Libby’s boss, is now widely considered more of a liability than ever. Cheney, the trial revealed, presided over an aggressive behind-the-scenes campaign to raise doubts about a pesky antiwar critic.

    So that’s what the trial revealed, “an aggressive behind-the-scenes campaign” run by Cheney “to raise doubts about a ‘pesky antiwar critic'”? No one would realize that the “pesky critic” has pretty much been discredited with little help from anyone other than himself, and there was no need for the administration to “raise doubts”.

    This in the same magazine as what appeared to my eye as a rather sane commentary by Michael Barone reflecting on the Libby case and the Berger case.

    In addition to this bit of clarifying journalism, the news today has Democrats in Congress wanting A.G. Gonzalez to resign because a few Federal Prosecutors were terminated, and more than that Harriet Meiers suggested a few years ago to terminate them all!! How despotic, how un-American, how indicative of the “vast right wing conspiracy”!!! (Ssshhhh… No, don’t mention that’s what President Clinton did when he took office, don’t interfere with a good smear by giving facts and perspective!!)

    And members of Congress are upset that Halliburton may move corporate head quarters to Dubei. The Democrat member of the House whose district is where Halliburton now is complains that they didn’t talk with regional officials about the impact on the area, etc. After years of demonizing them they have the nerve to act upset when they want to leave???

    “They are like children sitting in the market place and calling to one another, ‘We piped to you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not weep’.”

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  40. Clarice (#37), I’m not sure if this varies from state to state, or as between federal and state courts, or from criminal to civil courts. But in the Texas state civil courts in which I most regularly practice, it’s quite typical for practicing lawyers to show considerable confusion in what to call the first argument made at the end of the case by the person who gets to go first, and the concluding argument made at the end of the case by the person who gets to go last. I personally typically call it the “closing rebuttal.” In Texas state practice, there is caselaw to the effect that the plaintiff must “open fully,” meaning in his fisrt argument made at the end of the case (in which he gets to go before the defendant), he must address every issue in the court’s charge separately, lest he be precluded from talking about them again later. That’s to prevent him from making the defendant’s counsel waste his time on, for example, issues that the plaintiff’s counsel may then concede as a throw-away, and to give the defendant’s counsel a fair target to shoot at. But any plaintiff’s lawyer who doesn’t hold back his very best arguments about how particular bits of evidence relate to particular issues on which the jury is to return answers is an inexperienced practitioner who’s thrown away most of his advantage in going last. And there’s no particular requirement in Texas state-court practice that plaintiff’s counsel restrict his final closing argument to rebuttal of things the defendant’s counsel has raised in his; in other words, it typically may be used for rebuttal, and often is, but usually isn’t exclusively used for rebuttal.

    There are actually at least two references to “cloud” from Fitzgerald in the rough transcript linked above. (I hope it’s rough; I know that lawyers oftentimes become more incoherent as argument time limits approach, but Fitz’ pitch becomes awfully ragged in this transcription, even allowing for oblique references that the jury might have caught that were opaque to me.) I believe that in both instances, there’s a suggestion that with respect to the “cloud” point, he may have been responding to something specifically raised by the defense lawyers’ closing arguments. Again, I lack even a rough transcription of theirs, and Firedoglake’s summary isn’t terribly meaty. Do you recall? And do you know if Fitzgerald used the “sand in the eyes” metaphor earlier in the trial (perhaps during opening statements)?

    Beldar (24e978)

  41. 39 – Thanks for posting the USN&WR excerpt, MD. You just gave me a good reminder why I let my subscription lapse this past January after having received that magazine weekly for 17+ years.

    thirteen28 (5ad670)

  42. You’re welcome, thirteen 28.
    Once upon a time USN&WR was considered more fair than Time and Newsweek. Perhaps it still is, which would be frightening.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.1291 secs.