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Unmasking Scooter

(Photo credit NYT Photo/Doug Mills via Common Dreams)

Update: Some have asked about the juror clothing. They're in jeans again, sorry.

One thing we've talked a lot about is the way in which Libby and his wife pose for the pictures. Every time they enter or leave the courthouse, there's a phalanx of photographers waiting to take almost the same picture they did of him the day before. I joked with one of the reporters yesterday that–for days like yesterday when there was no news–it ensures you have something to put below the headline reading, "Still Waiting."

Mind you, I'm not faulting Libby or his wife for posing for these photographers. The case against the Administration and the case for a pardon are being made in the public sphere, and it is just as important for Libby to wear his game face for those photos as it is to mount a credible defense in the court room. 

In almost all of those pictures, Libby has had a huge grin on his face, almost a howdy doody smile.  Even when we're waiting in line at the Starbucks cart in the morning (I seem to be on the same caffeine schedule as the defense team), it's that same big smile, a smile that makes me think of both senses of the word, "plastered." 

But it seems like the stress of deliberation is taking its toll on Libby's ability to maintain that mask. Yesterday, for example, as the teams left the court room after the jury's head fake ("Sorry, we don't want your stinking instructions after all! Psyche!"), Libby had to come back for a portfolio he had left behind. He was distracted. The mask was down. He had a haunted (or, perhaps more generously, just exhausted) look. At other times, the mask looks exaggerated, which when you're starting with a howdy doody smile, is really saying something. 

Again. I'm not blaming Libby. Consider the stress Judy Miller was very visibly under when she was on the stand. She didn't maintain her game face, either. Heck, liar extraordinaire Ari Fleischer couldn't even do it, not when Jeffress asked him if he had been indicted for perjury about the Pincus conversation. Take the stress they experienced on the stand, multiply that by the days we've been waiting and the real possibility of jail time, and I'm sure my game face would be cracking too.

But I get the feeling that that mask is really close to cracking.  

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