« | »

Judge Walton Allows Libby To See His Notes

A small victory for the "Scooter" in the latest round from his show trial.

No, this is not from Orwell, not from Kafka. It’s from the "Paper Of Treason," the New York Times:

Former Aide to Cheney Gains Access to His Notes

Published: February 25, 2006

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24 — I. Lewis Libby Jr., the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney who is charged with lying to investigators about his role in the disclosure of the identity of a C.I.A. officer, won the right Friday to review his handwritten notes for a nine-month period surrounding the publication of the information.

But the federal judge hearing Mr. Libby’s case seemed markedly skeptical to a second request that the defense also be given the highly classified documents known as the President’s Daily Brief for a similar period. The judge, Reggie B. Walton, suggested that the requests for those documents by Mr. Libby’s lawyers might "sabotage" the case against him.

Mr. Libby has been charged with lying to investigators about his role in the disclosure of Valerie Wilson’s role as a Central Intelligence Agency operative.

In court on Friday, his chief defense lawyer, Theodore H. Wells Jr., argued that Mr. Libby needed the highly sensitive documents he was privy to as Mr. Cheney’s top assistant and national security adviser to mount his defense. Defense lawyers have said that if Mr. Libby’s statements to investigators were untrue, it was a case of innocent confusion or faulty memory because of his preoccupation with weightier national security matters at the time.

Mr. Wells said that even though the daily briefs were so valuable that they are often called the nation’s "family jewels," he needed to show the jury the kinds of momentous issues with which Mr. Libby was involved.

But Judge Walton, who deferred a final ruling on the matter, said the briefs were so sensitive that "the White House will never agree" to release them, adding, "If I order this, it will sabotage the prosecution."

The judge also suggested that Mr. Libby’s personal notes for that period, which he had just ordered to be turned over to the defense, could be sufficient to remind Mr. Libby of the issues he was involved in.

Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special counsel prosecuting Mr. Libby, told the judge that if he agreed to order the intelligence briefs made available to Mr. Libby, the result would be months of arguments over executive privilege and relevancy that "would derail the case."

Mr. Fitzgerald has said in court papers that the request for the briefs was an obvious effort at "graymail," a technique in which defense lawyers demand highly sensitive information from the government to force the prosecution to choose between providing the information or dropping the case. He noted that the disclosure of part of the Aug. 6, 2001, daily brief to the Sept. 11 commission was the sole instance of a daily brief’s being publicly disclosed and that occurred only after much wrangling.

Judge Walton scheduled Mr. Libby’s trial to begin Jan. 7, 2007, a long lead time to allow for expected pretrial battles over difficult issues like the presidential briefs and whether reporters will resist subpoenas to testify.

Mr. Fitzgerald said Friday that he would readily agree that Mr. Libby had an important job and dealt with weighty matters. But he said that the presidential briefs would provide far more detail than Mr. Libby needed to make that argument.

Further, he said, in July 2003 when Mr. Libby had conversations with three reporters, he was "deeply involved" in dealing with the issue of Ms. Wilson and her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV. Mr. Wilson, a former ambassador, had provoked the anger of the Bush administration when he asserted that the White House had exaggerated and twisted intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s efforts to buy uranium in Africa in order to make the case for invading Iraq.

Mr. Wilson has said the White House blew his wife’s cover to retaliate and to discredit his claims.

Judge Walton also rejected a request by Mr. Libby’s lawyers to obtain information about an unnamed official who worked in the administration but not in the White House who discussed Ms. Wilson’s identity with reporters.

Of course if this wasn’t Saturday, the slowest news day of the week, The Times wouldn’t have even told us this much good news.

But watching how Fitzgerald is fighting tooth and claw against discovery in this case is very revealing to say the least.

Why won’t Fitzgerald give Libby the material he needs to defend himself? Why isn’t he allowed the same rights any serial killer would be granted. Why isn’t he being given whatever he requests, and more?

Of course I think we all know why. This has nothing to do with justice. And everything to do with a witch hunting. Getting the scalp of at least one administration official.

Shame on Patrick Fitzgerald. He should be fired, fined and disbarred. Then, as an established hero of the left, he can get his mega million dollar book deal and give high priced speeches on the same circuit with Joe Wilson and Mother Sheehan.

Just as he has undoubtedly planned all along.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, February 25th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

15 Responses to “Judge Walton Allows Libby To See His Notes”

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

« Front Page | To Top
« | »