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aspens.jpg

(H/T to Attaturk at Rising Hegemon for the aspens pix.  No word, as yet, on whether they are quaking…)

There have been some new filings in the Libby case — from both Fitzgerald's team and from Team Libby.  Jeralyn (bless her!) has put the PDF's of the filings online at TalkLeft, so you can take a peek at the originals at your leisure.  Thanks, Jeralyn!  And, as she says:

We can expect Dick Cheney and others to be witnesses and not to claim privilege — at least during the Government's questioning. Cross-examination by Libby could be different. From Fitz's pleading:

The government is not aware of any government witness who is intending to assert a blanket privilege, and the government does not otherwise anticipate any of its witnesses moving to quash or limit trial subpoenas. The government also does not intend to examine any witnesses on any topic for which we expect an assertion of privilege.

I take the use of the word "blanket" to mean the Government witnesses will not object to answering all questions, but might raise a privilege objection as to specific questions by the defense. Fitz writes:

When the Jencks Act materials are turned over, we will alert the defense to the potential privilege problems and request that they advise us whether they intend to examine on any of those topics.

Libby also has subpoenaed a tape recording of an interview between Bob Woodward and Richard Armitage. The tape is in the Government's possession.

The WaPo had an article this morning specifying that Fitz and his team had been mum on whether or not Cheney would be on their witness list. Being mum can be construed one of two ways: (1) you aren't going to use him (for various reasons), but you aren't ready to say so just yet because you are pressuring the defendant; and (2) you are going to use him, but you aren't willing to say so just yet because you are pressuring the defendant.  (For more on what the Jencks Act is, see here.)

Sucks to be Scooter.

Emptywheel provides a bit of an early Fitzmas present:

Libby allows for several more reasons for a delay (who knows, he might yet delay my Fitzmas, damnit). But the final bit–which I love–is this. Fitzgerald wants to submit all of Libby's grand jury testimony into evidence. Of this, Libby's team says:

it is clear that large portions of Mr. Libby's testimony bear no relevance to this case and would serve no purpose other than to distract and confuse the jurors during their deliberations. The government has further indicated that it does not presently intend to read or play a tape of the entirety of Mr. Libby's grand jury testimony during trial, but will instead publish to the jury only selected portions of Mr. Libby's testimony during its case-in-chief. The defense hereby requests that the government be required to identify the portions of Mr. Libby's testimony that it intends to publish now…

Shorter Libby: I said some really incriminating things to the grand jury. And I provided a whole lot of evidence that my motive for lying was to protect Dick. We need to know if you're going to publish this now, so we can respond accordingly.

As further temptation, Emptywheel provides a link to Exhibit A (PDF).   That should make for some mighty fine reading, shouldn't it?

Meanwhile, across the pond, the rationale that so many within the Bush Administration were trying to protect by smearing the Wilsons has just been picked apart:

The Government's case for going to war in Iraq has been torn apart by the publication of previously suppressed evidence that Tony Blair lied over Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

A devastating attack on Mr Blair's justification for military action by Carne Ross, Britain's key negotiator at the UN, has been kept under wraps until now because he was threatened with being charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act.

In the testimony revealed today Mr Ross, 40, who helped negotiate several UN security resolutions on Iraq, makes it clear that Mr Blair must have known Saddam Hussein possessed no weapons of mass destruction. He said that during his posting to the UN, "at no time did HMG [Her Majesty's Government] assess that Iraq's WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests."

Mr Ross revealed it was a commonly held view among British officials dealing with Iraq that any threat by Saddam Hussein had been "effectively contained".

He also reveals that British officials warned US diplomats that bringing down the Iraqi dictator would lead to the chaos the world has since witnessed. "I remember on several occasions the UK team stating this view in terms during our discussions with the US (who agreed)," he said.

"At the same time, we would frequently argue when the US raised the subject, that 'regime change' was inadvisable, primarily on the grounds that Iraq would collapse into chaos."…

One member of the Foreign Affairs committee said: "There was blood on the carpet over this. I think it's pretty clear the Foreign Office used the Official Secrets Act to suppress this evidence, by hanging it like a Sword of Damacles over Mr Ross, but we have called their bluff."

Yesterday, Jack Straw, the Leader of the Commons who was Foreign Secretary during the war – Mr Ross's boss – announced the Commons will have a debate on the possible change of strategy heralded by the Iraqi Study Group report in the new year.  (emphasis mine)

Well, that ought to be some interesting viewing as well.  How amusing that the British had substantial doubts about the very issues for which Valerie Plame Wilson's work identity and the Brewster-Jennings network were outed by her own President and his toadies.  Oh wait, that's not really amusing at all…

Here's a tidbit for some oversight on our own soil:  why is it that the nation's top war games genius kicked Rummy's DoD wargames butt in simulation after simulation, but the lessons that ought to have been learned from such defeats were ignored entirely?  Here's hoping that Sen. Levin and Rep. Waxman, among others, get to ask a whole lot of questions about that very soon.  (H/T to reader Jay for the link on this one.)

In any case, as PowWow said last night, absent the threat from Team Libby to appeal the judge's ruling on the greymail summaries (which may be, more likely, simply building the record for appeal because you have to put stuff like this on the court record in order to preserve that avenue for challenge later), it looks as though Scooter's trial will be starting on time. 

On with the show…

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com

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