Today in Libby
It was an all-star journalist lineup at the Libby trial today. Walter Pincus, Bob Woodward, Evan Thomas, David Sanger, Glenn Kessler, and the Crypt Keeper himself — Robert Novak — all appeared on behalf of the defense. Or at least that was the assumption. What exactly the defense was trying to prove, other than that there were journalists in Washington DC Libby didn't talk to about Valerie Plame, was a bit of a mystery.
Ted Wells did none of the heavy lifting today; whether because these particular journalists were not his baliwick or because he seemed to be working Judge Walton's last nerve on Thursday is unknown. It looks like Andrea Mitchell will be testifying before the court but without the jury tomorrow, and based on what she says, Judge Walton will decide whether what she has to say is relevant to Libby's defense. As someone who has been on Andrea Mitchell watch regarding this case for quite some time, I'm pretty happy about the fact that she will have to get up on the stand and tell her story about being drunk on TV (or whatever her ever-morphing story seems to be on that particular day). Almost as much gratification as I'm going to get tomorrow when Jill Abramson of the New York Times has to get up on the stand and tell the world that Judy Miller never wrote about Valerie Plame because she was on probation for her crap WMD reporting in Iraq. Good times.
The big points of courthouse speculation are whether Libby and/or Cheney will testify. Libby's lawyers are trying to do just about anything they can to keep him from having to take the stand, but the judge has rather adamantly refused to allow much of the "memory defense" if he doesn't. Having listened to 8 hours of Libby's grand jury tapes one has to wonder how much he has to lose by doing so, but despite the fact that the defense is still rather opaque at this moment many seem to think there is tremendous downside. Cheney is more enigmatic — his public willingness to vouch for Libby could be quite effective given the fact that he is the Vice President of the United States (albeit with an 18% JAR); the power of that kind of spectacle could be quite compelling. On the other hand, it's quite obvious that Fitzgerald has Cheney in the crosshairs right now, and it's not beyond comprehension that Cheney would not want to be publicly grilled like that, even if it meant leaving Libby to the dogs after having taken the hit on his behalf.
Shooter and Scooter, show or no? Place yer bets….