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Well, Isn’t THAT Interesting?


Who says arguments about the legal minutiae can't be interesting?

Fitz. There're two reasons I beg to differ, Libby chose to make McClellan his agent. Libby "hid behind Mr. McClellan to do it" [make the statement].

Walton. It's in effect Libby saying it. Where are the notes indicating what he wanted McC to say. Can I see that and then I need to see what you want to show to the jury.

Fitz Puts Libby's sonnet back up….

Fitz is walking through the scenario of Libby asking Scottie to clear him publicly.

Wells. In terms of 403 analysis. The story is in the grand jury already. What you're talking about is situations where undue prejudice may be caused. It's like a feeding frenzy.

Walton. But I assume the govt's big concern in the context in this case, I assume that if the opening statement had not been made, that Libby was being thrown under a bus to protect Mr Rove.

Wells. It has nothing to do with the opening statement. Fitz always intended to enter this as a key piece of evidence.

Walton But I still have to factor that in. I have yet to see any evidence that that was in play. If we were talking about the leak being the basis for govt's prosecution, maybe that's sufficient to raise a question as it relates to leak situation. But Mr. Libby's on trial for allegedly subsequent to that having lied to FBI. How you make out a case that WH was putting his [Libby's] head on a platter in order to protect Mr. Rove, I don't understand how that connect is going to be made.

Wells. Let me explain purpose of it. Fitz repeatedly argued that Bush made statement that anyone involved would be fired. My response to that, in terms of Libby, he was not concerned about job, he was concerned they were scapegoating him. What we're going to argue in response to govt's argument, he was concerned about scapegoating. He acted like an innocent person, went to VP and asked to be exonerated. That's what VP will say if he testifies. It goes to motive. They want this transcript in to go to motive. They want to say he was afraid of losing job. Only an innocent person, I would argue, would go to VPUS, to say that he was worried about scapegoating. [EW: Huh?? I think this makes him look pretty damn guilty.]

Wells now goes back to GJ testimony. Why they need to see a videotape of McC making a statement which is a feeding frenzy.

Walton. I don't see how this prejudices. I need to look at it.

Wells. It's unnecessary for anything to be played as a videotape. [EW: Hey Ted–what about that video of Judy you introduced]

Fitz. One point, when you look at it. I'm not sure what Wells and I agree on, I think it's highly relevant that well before GJ, he got this statement. That goes right to the point that there's no evidence of trying to throw him under the bus. If the defendant had done it himself.

Walton. How would it be relevant.

Fitz. He put down a marker. If turns around withing 4 days and says I took info from Grossman, VP and Martin, and told it to Miller and Cooper. Your honor this was classified. He has to make sure that anything he tells reporters doesn't come from a classified source. Is he locked in, unable to admit that he got it from official channels. The best way to cut that off is to put it into the bucket of information coming from reporters.

Wells. Fitz just said, it was classified information. The jury has been instructed that question of classification is not an issue in this case. He cannot say that.

Walton. In light of what we've told the jury, how does that play out.

Fitz. I'm not going to tell the jury that the info was classified. The one way he can insulate himself would be to say, I got it from reporters, not from official channels. It's an investigation into whether classified identity was leaked. That's right in the charged language. He's got to worry that this info about someone who worked at the CIA cleanest way to take himself off the hook is to say he heard a rumor from reporters.

Wells. He said a minute ago it's classified.

Walton. He said, whether it was classified or not, the cleanest way to shift it, is to put it on reporters. Let me look at what we're talking about.

And there we have the crux of this case in a nutshell: for Libby, it was about the most effective means of CYA after he overstepped his bounds trying to protect the ass of Dick Cheney when Cheney's credibility and veracity began to be questioned by the very media that he and his office had been using to launder their half-baked stories. For Fitzgerald and his team, it's all about exposing the lies and the cover-up, because no one — and I mean NO ONE — is allowed to lie to the FBI and to a federal grand jury and get a pass. 

And Wells' tour de force of a lengthy, detailed, meandering opening statement?  That sure is coming back to bite him in the behind, isn't it?

Fascinating stuff.  And it makes for a whole lot of questions and speculation, doesn't it?  Here's to many, many more questions to come on all of this.  Every last piece of this mess, every rock turned over and the festering masses hiding underneath exposed to the disinfectant of public scrutiny, every last nuance and backroom deal and wink and nod from the media and failure to exact oversight by members of Congress.  Every ass-covering handshake deal. 

It will not be completed once this trial has concluded, not by half.  But Fitzgerald and his team have set down a marker for the members of Congress to follow:  the truth shall set you free.  Here's to more and more digging in the days and weeks to come.  Because if we have learned nothing else from this horrific mess, let us learn this:  oversight and accountability are exactly what Congress ought to be doing with its time, every damn day.  No one, not even the President of the United States, gets a pass.

It is well past time for some accountability.  Here's to sunlight and the public.  At long last.

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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