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Jury Instructions and Free Form Liveblog


NOTES: (1) This is not a transcript — It's the blogger's approximation, and no one really knows what that is yet! But I do know you shouldn't quote anything not in quotation marks. (2) I'll timestamp the updates and will update about every 15 minutes, servers willing. The hamsters that run the servers will appreciate it if you don't refresh excessively in the meantime. (3) If you're not having enough fun just reading along the liveblog, consider buying my book on this case.

Good morning! It's actually a pretty crowded here in the media room this morning. 

Ut oh, apparently a juror issue!  

Walton: Received motion for evidentiary hearing. My recollection of my questions for voir dire is that I asked for association with lawyers. I did ask about an knowledge of lawyers associated with firm. I don't think a juror has said something or not said something. If she recognizes Mr. Randy Turk as a lawyer and made an association between him and the legal team. I don't know how to resolve it other than query her if she has . The partner at issue was not in the court room at the time, the partner was not associated with the defense until yesterday. 

Jeffress: We do think voir dire should be handled with one lawyer from each side. 

Walton: I need to get a court reporter. We'll break until we can get a court reporter. Shouldn't take long.

It sounds like one of the jurors had a case against one of the lawyers from Baker Botts, who showed up yesterday for closing statements. They're going to query her in chambers to find out whether she has a negative association with him.

Walton in again.

We've got still more new views here in the media room. One of Libby himself.

We're waiting for the jury now. 


Walton: begins giving jury instructions. If you are unsure on instructions, please notify my in manner I will indicate to you. Warns them to follow the law, not to question the law [ut oh, there goes Defense's attempt at jury nullification] Beyond reasonable doubt: sole and exclusive judges of the facts. 

Wells was pouting this morning. But now he's back. Looks bored. 

Walton: Your recollection should control during deliberations. Permitted you to ask questions. If I did not ask question, I decided it was not legally proper to ask. Juror may not consider that question. Evidence included witnesses, exhibits, and stipulations. Stipulations introduced to impeach a witness, only relevant to witness.

Two types of evidence, direct evidence, and circumstantial evidence. Law makes no distinction between direct and circumstantial evidence.

Transcripts of GJ testimony true and correct to best of her ability, transcripts of WH press briefings/gaggles true and correct copies. If you perceived any variation, guided by tape recordings.

Now talking about lawyers' statements. Objections. Not prejudice against lawyers.

Presumption of innocence remains with defendant. [Wells read this yesterday]

If govt proves every element of offense beyond reasonable doubt, then you must find guilty.  

Reasonable doubt kind of doubt that would cause a reasonable person to hesitate to act in graver or more important matters of life. Based on reason. Govt not required to prove doubt to scientific certainty. 

Witnesses, whether witnesses impresses as an individual, accurate reflection, full opportunity to observe matters about which testified, friendship or hostility with this case. Inconsistencies may or may not cause you to discredit testimony. Always consider whether important or unimportant detail.


Memory: Amount of time, circumstances that existed, nature of information or event person is called upon to remember, circumstances that existed when person asked to recall event, amount of time between event and recall, your assessment of memory, any evidence that shed light on memory of individuals.

Earlier statements made not under oath as opposed to these statements. 

Earlier statements made under oath–you may consider this earlier statement as proof that what was said in earlier statement was true, as well as to question memory of earlier person.

Earlier consistent statements, you may consider this consistency and as proof that what was said was true.

Ari Fleischer's grant of immunity. Consider whether such testimony furthered witness' own interest.

Law enforcement official's testimony, consider using same guidelines you apply to other witnesses. In no event give greater or less weight.

Right not to testify. Libby has chosen to exercise this right. Do not use this against him. [Hey Walton–How about holding it against him that Cheney didn't testify??]

Consider each count separately. The fact that consider him guilty or not guilty should not influence other counts.

One count you were asked was whether nature would render your ability to render fair verdict. 

Now going into charges.


Going through the Judy Miller part of the Obstruction charge. Just Russert and Cooper. You may however consider evidence presented on conversations with Miller at trial to evaluate whether Obstruction.

Hey, Jane and I are going upstairs. We'll update when we get back!! 


Okay, I'm back. Sorry to disappear so quickly. Had to go in the courtroom while I had a chance.

For a while this morning, Wells and Jeffress appeared not to be speaking, but they appear to have kissed and made up while we were up there. When we came in from the break, Libby wasn't there–one of the associates had to go find the Defendant. Then Libby was writing notes all through jury instructions. Oh, and Barbara Comstock apparently went to get ashes for Ash Wednesday sometime between when she arrived this morning and the instructions.

Lots of jurors taking last looks at Libby before they started deliberating. And apparently the juror's conflict with the Baker Botts lawyer wasn't that big a conflict–she appears to remain on the jury. So the final total is 8 woman, 4 men (we gained one of the PhDs from the alternates), two African Americans. Now busy deciding Scooter Libby's fate.

Now we wait, with bated breath.

And wait. 

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