Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Some thoughts on the Libby verdict

One of the ways the wingerverse is trying to spin the verdict is to claim that the jury was confused, that the jury charge was confusing, that the prosecution's case was confusing, etc. Let me simplify this for the wingers. Every witness--under oath and even under cross examination--contradicted every explanation Libby put forth. End of story.

As explained in the updated version of the NBC report,
One juror who spoke to reporters outside court said the jury had 34 poster-size pages filled with information they distilled from the trial testimony. They discerned that Libby was told about Plame at least nine times, and they did not buy the argument that he had forgotten all about it.

“Even if he forgot that someone told him about Mrs. Wilson, who had told him, it seemed very unlikely he would not have remembered about Mrs. Wilson,” the juror, Denis Collins, said.
Need more proof? Consider what became one of Libby's chief claims--that he learned about Valerie Plame from NBC's Tim Russert. Russert flat out said that was not true. As reported by MSNBC, "The jury found Russert to be 'very credible,' Collins said."

As every one of Libby's bullshit explanations got shot down, his defense team settled on one last ploy--Libby was merely the fall guy for what the Bush administration was doing. The closing argument by Libby's lead attorney, Ted Wells, contained the following:
"The wheels were falling off the Bush administration" in the summer of 2003, Wells argued. How could Libby, serving Cheney as both chief of staff and national security adviser, remember Plame's job when 100,000 U.S. troops were in Iraq and hadn't found the weapons of mass destruction the administration had cited to justify the war? Wells asked.
(emphasis added). Finally, Scooter Libby, through his lawyer, admitted what most of us have known all along--the Bush administration was in a shambles over the war in Iraq. And poor ol' Scooter was being used as a scapegoat. And guess what? The jury believed him, but unfortunately for Libby, that was irrelevant. As juror Collins explained:
"I will say there was a tremendous amount of sympathy for Mr. Libby on the jury," said the juror, Denis Collins, a former newspaper reporter.

"It was said a number of times: 'What are we doing with this guy here? Where’s Rove? Where are these other guys?' " Collins said, referring to Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove, who was identified during the investigation as one of the senior officials who revealed the identity of the operative, Valerie Plame, to journalists.

"I’m not saying we didn’t think Mr. Libby was guilty of the things we found him guilty of," Collins said. "It seemed like he was, as Mr. Wells [Ted Wells, Libby’s attorney] put it, he was the fall guy."

In fact, Collins said, the focus on Libby frustrated the jurors, who had hoped to get a crack at the larger issues.

"What we’re in court deciding seems to be a level or two down from what, before we went into the jury, we supposed the trial was about, or had been initially about, which was who leaked" Plame’s identity.

"Some jurors commented at some point: 'I wish we weren’t judging Libby...' "
But they were judging Libby, and they found that the evidence showed beyond a shadow of a doubt that he obstructed justice, lied to the FBI, and committed perjury before the grand jury.

Collins made it clear that the jury really wanted to go after those ultimately responsible for leaking Plame's identity, Libby claimed that he was being made a scapegoat, and his own lawyer said the wheels were coming off the Bush administration in the summer of 2003. Hmm...Put all of those facts together and I think there are indications of the future significance of the Libby verdict. Not only will there be continued public interest in the Valerie Plame matter, but now there is a verdict confirming that someone very high up lied in that matter, and everyone knows that that person--Libby--is not the big fish but rather that Libby was trying to protect the big fish(es). And it looks like as the trial process wore on, Libby became less and less interested in simply taking the fall. I still think it is unlikely that he is going to turn and spill his guts on Cheney and Rove and anybody else, particularly since I think a pardon will be issued if Libby loses his appeal, but I can dream, can't I?

This verdict will also spur public interest in determining just how we ended up going to war. Some have said that the Libby trial was a trial on the war, but they were and are wrong. The focus of the trial was narrow, as it should have been. The only issues addressed and decided concerned Libby's lies to the FBI and the grand jury. Some facts about the buildup to the war were introduced, but the jury was not asked any questions about that, so nothing in that regard was answered. However, this verdict does provide confirmation (as if any was needed) that the Bush administration did in fact engage in lying about something involved with the Iraq war. It shows that there was a coverup regarding an attack on someone who was critical of the claim of WMD. It shows that perhaps this is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. The truth is that the iceberg has been exposed for a long time, but some people have refused to see it, and others keep trying to keep it hidden. This verdict is going to make both those tasks more difficult.

BTW, the possibility of a pardon is being discussed in the comments to the previous post.

2 Comments:

Anonymous laura l said...

LOL, Rove skewered by way of eminem...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDaRFf7Cd6M

That juror in the Libby trial asked the right question: where's Karl?

3/07/2007 11:28 PM  
Blogger WCharles said...

Thanks for the link. That's good stuff. :-)

The line that really made me laugh was "I've been reading Bob Novak, now I'm drowsy."

3/08/2007 12:17 AM  

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