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Guess Who Is Going To DC?


Well, aside from Patrick Fitzgerald and his team, given that the Scooter Libby criminal trial is set to begin on or about the 16th day of January, 2007, guess who else is going to DC?

After several months of phone calls and e-mails for logistical assistance, tracking down just the right person for inquiries at the courthouse, and lots of leg work, and thanks to the gracious assistance of Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post, we have managed to secure one of the very limited press passes for the Scooter Libby trial.  (A huge thank you to Arianna for all of her assistance in this.)

Yep, that is correct:  your intrepid pals at Firedoglake, with the more than able assistance of Marcy Wheeler, Emptywheel of The Next Hurrah, and fabulous author of Anatomy of Deceit, and a few other all stars who have talked with us about covering various aspects of the trial process, are headed to DC to cover as much of the trial as we can manage to see and hear.

To do this coverage properly, we are working on subletting an apartment in DC, to allow us to be at the courthouse as frequently as we can manage with our respective schedules.  We also have travel costs, to and from DC, and food costs and a number of other necessary budget items that all add up.

But we need a little help from anyone who can give it.

Apartments and travel do not come cheaply these days.  We have worked to reduce the budget to as spare an amount as we can — we initially thought that hotel stays would be more cost effective but, as it turns out, that is not the case because hotel prices in the DC area are at premium rates, especially with Congress starting back into session tomorrow.  So, Jane has been working her tail off to find us an apartment in a location near public transportation and/or the courthouse, and we've finally found a couple of places that will work well with enough bedroom space and a tiny kitchen and internet access — and reasonable rental costs.  No mean feat in DC, let me tell you!  We're negotiating now for a place, and we hope to have that finalized shortly — it's been tough finding a two-month sublet, so it's taken a bit of wrangling.  (Thanks, Jane!)

We've also tried to budget for travel using the least expensive possibilities as we can find, but because it is January and February (and because I have to drive through a ski area to get to DC), we've also tried to budget for weather contingencies for at least part of the time, allowing for some flights since driving may not be an option if the weather refuses to cooperate.  Because there is a kitchen, we'll be able to do a grocery store run for at least a portion of the food expenses — and coffee.  Lots and lots of coffee.

All of us have lives and families and jobs and other obligations outside of blogging, so we will have to rotate through as best we can, and we're trying to work out all of the logistics on our end of things to be able to do just that.  (I'll have to make quick trips in and out because of The Peanut, and we've tried to factor that into the plans, just as one example.) 

Where you can help tremendously is in assisting us to defray some of the costs of this venture — we've pared the budget down to $12,000.00 — which at first glance seems like a lot (at least, it did to me living in the rural area that I do), but consider that a good half that cost is two months of apartment time in the DC area with enough bedrooms and couch space for all of us.  (Yeesh, how do people make ends meet there for a lifetime?)

Anything that you can do to help with the budget would be very much appreciated by all of the folks involved.  What we ask is that if you can make a donation via PayPal (see the button in the right-hand-most column, near the top of the page here), that you add $.07 to the end of the donation, so that we will know it is meant for this particular coverage. 

Any help you can give at this time would be great, otherwise we'll have to figure out a way to do this out-of-pocket and, to be completely honest, it is not something that I can just afford to do (we wouldn't be asking if we didn't need the help).

We are all very excited about this — obtaining a press pass was not easy, and we plan to make the most of it as much as we humanly can do so.  Thanks to everyone for all the support on the coverage of this CIA Leak Case from the start of the investigation until now.  And thanks to anyone who can chip in a bit to help us in our coverage over the next few weeks.

Just think, your contribution puts us that much closer to being eyeball to eyeball with Dick Cheney on the stand.  (Or at least, sitting in the room while he and Fitz are eyeball-to-eyeball, which is just as intriguing…)  The trial will not be covered live on television because federal courts do not allow cameras in the courtroom, so in order to do detailed coverage, we need to be there in person.  Thanks to anyone who can help us to make that happen.

Very soon it will be on to DC.  But until then, you'll have to satisfy yourself with a fantastic rundown of some of the outstanding issues in the case that emptywheel put together (with the help of Jeff) — great read!

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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