The Associated Press reports on a MAJOR victory for the Republicans. Scooter Libby’s trial will not be held until January 2007. That means the administration’s stonewalling will succeed in postponing a public airing of the evidence against them through two successive elections.
Meanwhile, the National Review’s Byron York continues to deliberately misunderstand the nature of the charges against Scooter Libby. Of course, York is only reporting on Libby’s desperate defense strategy. Libby wants to argue that Plame was known by reporters to be a CIA officer, that her outing caused no harm to national security, and that he was too busy to orchestrate any campaign to smear Wilson. None of those arguments have any bearing on whether he obstructed justice and committed perjury. And Fitzgerald isn’t taking the bait.
Meanwhile, Murray Waas has some real reporting on the Libby case. Can Libby use the faulty memory defense?
As Libby awaits trial, one of the unresolved mysteries is why Libby insisted in interviews with the FBI and during his grand jury testimony that he learned about Plame’s employment from journalists, when investigators already had Libby’s own copious notes indicating that he had first learned many of the details of Plame’s CIA employment from Cheney and other senior government officials.
One possibility examined by investigators is that Libby was attempting to cover for Cheney because of the political or legal fallout that might occur if it was determined that the vice president had been involved in the effort to discredit Wilson.
Stephen Gillers, a law professor at New York University, said, “The prosecutor’s implicit inference before the jury may well likely be that Libby lied to protect the vice president. Even in a plain vanilla case, a prosecutor always wants to be able to demonstrate a motive.”
That Cheney was one of the first people to tell Libby about Plame, and that Libby had written in his notes that Cheney had heard the information from the CIA director, Gillers said, might make it more difficult for Libby to mount a credible defense of a faulty memory. “From a prosecutor’s point of view, and perhaps a jury’s as well, the conversation [during which Libby learned about Plame] is the more dramatic and the more memorable because the conversation was with the vice president” and because the CIA director’s name also came up, Gillers said.
The disclosure that Cheney and Libby were told of a CIA assessment that the agency considered the Niger allegations to be untrue, and that Tenet requested the assessment as a result of the personal interest of Cheney and Libby, would “demonstrate even further that Niger was a central issue for Libby,” said Gillers, and would “make it even harder, although not impossible, to claim a faulty memory.”
NYBri has a great article on some of the procedural manuveurs in the Libby case.