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Words of the Day: “Poison Pill”


Am working on a breakdown of the complaint filed yesterday by Joe and Valerie Wilson against Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby, Karl Rove and John Does 1 through 10.  There are a lot of bits and pieces to cover on this, and I want to be sure to hit them all for everyone, so I’m trying to be thorough.

Just remember, the words of the day are "poison pill."  I’ll explain more about why that is later.

In the meantime, just a reminder that there will be a press conference on the Wilson civil suit today at 10:00 am ET at the National Press Club.  I’m not only going to be watching, but I’m going to live blog it as best I can for those of you who can’t watch (for whatever reason).  It’s the least I can do…

Also, thought everyone would enjoy a round-up of the news articles and clips I’ve found on the subject this morning:

—  For your morning giggle, you have to check out The Daily Show clip on the Novak CYA Natural Reputation Enhancement Tour.  Hilarious.  (Thanks, C&L!)

— The Globe and Mail had a short piece on the suit.

The Chicago Tribune has a bit more, including some information on Bivens suits (of which the Wilson’s suit is one, in a number of aspects).

— Here’s the perspective of Reuters, Bloomberg (and what have they done to their news site?), AP via USAToday, the WaPo, and the NYTimes, to link but a few.

Mark Kleiman has some great thoughts on this, including:

…Our Wilson-bashing friends also don’t seem to have thought through what’s likely to happen in plaintiffs’ discovery. Libby and Rove are going to have to answer the same questions in deposition they answered in front of the grand jury. Only this time it will be on the public record. And of course their ability to prevaricate is limited by the threat of perjury charges if the two stories don’t match. In addition, Robert Novak is going to have to come clean, again in public, or face contempt charges.

But that’s not the best of it. Rove will be asked whether it’s true, as Murry Waas reported, that GWB personally ordered him to reveal classified information in order to discredit Joseph Wilson. And when he says "yes," as he presumably will, plaintiffs will then have a strong basis for deposing Mr. Bush himself. [Yes, I’d rather "depose" him in the other sense of that term, but you take what you can get.]

Or they might just amend the complaint to name GWB as a defendant. (The Republicans may yet come to regret the Paula Jones precedent.) Either way, that deposition should be lots and lots of fun.

Footnote: The Waas story provides a possible explanation for the lack of any "substantive" indictment in the Plame case: Rove and Libby could have claimed that they were acting under orders, and that the Presidential instruction gave them reason to believe that any information released pursuant to it would not damage the national security, thus refuting the scienter required by the Espionage Act. Fitzgerald might well have concluded that he couldn’t disprove that claim beyond reasonable doubt.

Interesting, no? The legal beagles have all been batting around a number of theories on why things have shaken out as they have — and this one, I think, has some legs, and is worth some discussion and more thought. (I definitely welcome your thoughts on this.  It’s multi-dimensional chess, but it’s awfully intriguing.)  Also, Jeralyn has some great information at TalkLeft for your perusal.  As does the Muck.  And I’ll be getting back to this later today, as I get time.  

But for the moment, I’m going to grab another cuppa coffee, work on my suit analysis and try to eat some breakfast before the presser at 10 am ET.  It’s gonna be a busy day…on a scale of one to ten, how grumpy is Lynn Cheney this morning, do you think?

(This is the distillation of the whole case in one, fantastic cartoon, which was inked on 10/19/05.  If you haven’t checked out The Daily Scribble, get thee to the web page.  This is some of the smartest, sassiest and spot-on editorial cartooning that I have ever seen.  And it makes me laugh, even on dismal days.  Well worth a browse — for an hour or two…)

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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