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Libby Voir Dire, the Never-Ending Story


Hey guess who I found in the Libby trial media room? Pachacutec and Christy!! 

This is Pach:  I'm handing the baton, and the press passes, to my illustrious co-bloggers, though I'm hanging around today to complete my notes on voir dire.  That should give me a bit of background on each of the jurors  ultimately selected.  That should be handy.

I spoke with Jane last night and she sounds great, sharp as ever, and she was plugging me for all kinds of information about last week's Libby coverage experience, but I have to tell you, I didn't have much to offer her that I have not already sent out to you.  So stay tuned:  Marcy will be taking over live blogging today.

Morning gang!  Christy here — mercifully, there's a coffee cart down the hall.  One large Starbucks down…more to come.  We got a glimpse of Team Fitz this morning, and of Team Libby — at least Libby and Wells, anyway, and some assorted briefcase carrying associates.  The  media room is already filling up — looks like things are expected to be hopping this week.  We'll be getting our bearings today and, if all goes well, and jury selection concludes today and instructions get done, then we'll get to opening statements.  The plan at this point is that I'll be in the courtroom at that point and that Emptywheel will be liveblogging in the media room.  But we're still working out logistics as the day goes on today. 

Emptywheel back again. We're going to liveblog up here on the top of the page starting today, so folks can scan through the liveblog quickly. I'll be updating periodically. I may not be as responsive as I'd like in the comments, but I will try! 

Please note: This is not a transcript–unless I use quotation marks, consider this a paraphrase. 

First potential juror of the day, a 20ish-30ish white male who votes and has participated in letter writing campaigns. Has heard some of the trial [paraphrase] "I heard this was the only thing that he had found, I was surprised that this was the only thing he found after a long period of investigation." When he was 18 he got a citation for underaged drinking. Parents were in the foreign service, went to diplomatic schools. Went to Bowdoin. Works for Department of Labor.

Fitz: You recall something about the lengths to which the prosecution went.

Juror: I wasn't surprised about the lengths to which the prosecutor went.

Juror heard about Judy's (though didn't name her) fight–thought that it'd be nice if we had a shield law.  

Fitz now asking about his ability to take administration witnesses the same way as any other witnesses. 

Jeffress up, asking about the war.

Juror: Their statements may have been misguided, but I believe they were honest. 

Letter-writing campaigns organized by MoveOn.

Jeffress asks about how much he saw from the indictment. 

Juror: I remember hearing there was an indictment. 

The leak "had something to do with trying to discredit Joseph Wilson."

Remembers Judy Miller, Novak. 

Knows Armitage leaked to Novak. Knows someone is suing someone else.

Jeffress asks about Cheney.

He is the Vice President, so I couldn't approach him the way I could a complete stranger. Brings up the debate with John Edwards, says he was able to assess Cheney's take fairly. [nice answer!!] He's in!

Next juror, mid-thirties, male, may be Latino.

Has done some work for an intelligence agency. Has access to classified information.

Grew up in DC. Has a Bachelors and Masters from George Washington, Masters in telecom and computers. Works in technology field. Two or three working with the government, currently working with a software company.

Reads the WSJ, sometimes Moonie Times and WaPo. Reads the business section, doesn't read editorials. Does consulting for software company, does simulations. 

Wells up to ask about intelligence agencies and classified information. Juror asks for private discussion of classified information. Discussion at bench with lawyers and juror about his intelligence work.

Very long discussion–maybe 15-20 minutes.

We're back. Long sidebar, but apparently Wells didn't get him bounced yet. Now he's going to go to work trying to get him bounced because has a security clearance.

Wells, "you've indicated you've done work for intelligence agencies." CIA not one of the agencies. Wells asking about work in past and future for intelligence community. Will that impact how you might assess credibility of witnesses who might work for CIA?

Juror: No. 

Juror has security clearance.  

Juror doesn't think having a security clearance would bias him.

Wells wants him to put personal knowledge of security clearance to the side. "It would be unfair and improper for you to become an expert in the jury room about how classified information is supposed to be handled." It would be improper for you to go beyond the four corners of the evidence.

Juror says yes, he understands.

Wells now asking about what kind of software simulations juror works on. 

Memory questions.  Meet the Press questions.

Juror has mixed feelings about case for war. Maybe 20 or 30 years we'll find out if the decisions were correct or not. "Feelings of uncertainty," Wells asks. "Yeah," says juror. No feelings about Cheney.

Fitz back. Asking a memory question. How would you go about determining whether the person was lying or forgot.  He made it! I must be lucky forvoir dire, I'm 2 for 2.

Early thirties white woman.

Has heard about the case. Heard the name Scooter Libby. "I honestly don't know any specifics." Doesn't know anything about the case. 

Has a friend who is an agent in the FBI. Was in Albany field office. Friends with the agent's wife.

Fitz up. Grew up in Bethesda. Undergrad degree from Loyola. [Ah Fitz is going to like a Jesuit.] Works at World Bank. Some kind of Project Manager.

Canceled subscription to WaPo because had a baby and no longer had time to read it.

Iraq War question. Nervous glance at jury box. Walton asks if she is familiar with Wolfowitz. She knows he's the President of the World Bank, has seen him from a distance.

Has no time to watch TV–comes home from work and does bottles and diapers, the TV that's on is Mickey Mouse. 

"I don't follow anything political at all."

Memory question, she understands the way memory works. Fitz up to ask how she would sort out whether memory was a mistake or a lie. I would look at both sides of the, what one person thought and the other person thought, I'd have to hear both sides of it. I would have to see the sides of it, I don't like to think  people are liars. That's a pretty strong word. I would have to see both sides.  

She's in! 3 for 3!!

Thirty-ish African American woman. Applied to FBI. Didn't test too well for FBI. Has a former coach who is a police officer.

Fitz's questions. Native to Washington DC. Degree in accounting. Accounting consultant for government agencies. Analyzes abnormal balances withing standard ledger accounts. 

Reads the WaPo. Hasn't read anything about this case. 

Wells, jumps right to the memory questions. 

Fitz didn't ask the question he's been using to pre-empt Wells' Iraq questions, so now Wells is doing it.

"I think there's a possibility that the truth hasn't been told; in some situations you can't believe everything you hear and say." 

She can give a former member of the Bush Administration a fair trial.

She's in!!  4 for 4!!

Thirties African American woman. Used to work at the court, knows a court room staffer.

Fitz: grew up in SE DC. Went to Eastern High school. Works at a law firm. When she worked in the Court she worked in the probation office. Some attorneys from her firm work in White Collar crime, but she doesn't work with those attorneys.

Reads the WaPo. Watches Fox.

No positive or negative impression of prosecutors or defenders.

Jeffress up. Worked at another law firm, a family law firm. She's a legal secretary.  Did workstudy at Department of Transportation.

Jeffress asking the memory question. Tends to think things are honest disagreement, once people talk and compare memories, you can figure out what it was. No belief about why you'd forget. "It's just bad memory, I guess."

Now up on War questions–not aware of any controversy on the war.

Fitz up on how you decide about memory. I wouldn't just judge them. I wouldn't assume they lied, that's not my personality or character.

She's in!! 5 for 5!!!

We're going to have a short day.

Thirties (everyone looks thirties to me–I must not have had enough coffee), may be ethnic of some sort.

Has an opinion about about Iraq. Believes they've been dishonest on Iraq war.

Can't really hear him, but he has repeated "dishonest" about 10 times.


Sixties African American woman, Doesn't believe in the Administration. It would affect her ability to judge.


Forties white male. Wears a hearing aide in one year, but can hear well with it.

Reads the newspaper. Doesn't remember what he read in the newspaper.

It's gets mixed in with all the news.

Friend just completed training at FBI academy and is on his first assignment. Talks with him about it generally, not about any of the cases he works on.  His friendship wouldn't affect his ability to judge law enforcement testimony.

Lawyer friends who have done pro bono work. They have told him about the work they do–they've primarily done housing law.

One of (female) roommates in grad school is an economist and worked for CIA during the summers.  

Has had access to classified information. Worked as Staff Economist Council of Economic Advisors in summer 1994-5. Used to work at DOJ as budget analyst.

Victim of crime in 1987, apartment robbed. Brother charged with possession of drugs. His brother served time in Alabama state prison, served a year. Feels he was treated fairly.  

Fitz up. Born in PA and grew up in Alabama. Moved to DC, third time in DC, most recently moved her in 2004. BA in Economics from Harvard, PhD in Economics from MIT. DOJ, CEA, taught at Carnegie Mellon advanced accounting and business strategy. Laura Tyson Chair at Council of Economic Advisors when he started, then Joseph Stiglitz replaced her. 

Reads NYT and WSJ. Reads business, tech, style, op-ed section. 

Wells up. Asking about partiality wrt DOJ.

Investment banker, helps finance companies raise money. Company serves primarily finance, health care, energy, diversified industrials…

Doesn't know whether Administration has lied or not.

No pre-existing feelings about Cheney.

Memory question. 

Doesn't watch news shows. Has heard of MTP. No pre-existing feelings about Russert.

Fitz up with his process of memory question.

He's in!!  

Woohoo! We have a potential jury pool. I think. 

Oops. We're not done. Looks like they're replacing the two from last week who were of uncertain status. So we've got another potential, a twenties or thirties African American woman, a teacher in private childcare. Works with infant to four.

Reads the Express if she does read the paper. Watches Channel Five in the morning.

I don't really get into that [politics] much. No feelings about war.

In response to the memory question, she says, "most of the time someone is lying."

"If they played a bad part in a situation, they'd want to deny it." "Yes."

Says you look at evidence, then said, "can't really tell."

A keeper! 

We seem to be at 36, but the rest of the jury pool is off until 3, so we're on hold until then. 

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Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.