No delay for Libby
He'll now be given a surrender date, and will get to pursue his appeal from behind bars.
The grounds for his appeal was that he was likely to prevail on appeal, so he shouldn't be jailed in the meantime. By rejecting that argument, was the court offering a negative opinion on the strength of his case? Or simply deciding that the argument wasn't strong enough to keep him out of jail?
Separately, the court on Friday unsealed court documents in the case, giving a glimpse of prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's thinking as he pursued his investigation into the leak case. There's not much new in them, apparently -- mostly a more coherent timeline of prosecutorial procedure.
It shows, as became apparent long ago, that no underlying crime could be charged because he couldn't prove that Libby or any of the other leakers knew Plame was a covert agent -- a difficult legal prerequisite for proving a crime. But he was also convinced Libby was lying. So he charged Libby with that, probably hoping Libby would cut a deal to avoid conviction and prison.
Libby didn't do that. So what remains unanswered is what Libby was lying about, and why. We probably won't know until the staff memoirs start emerging -- and maybe not even then, given the secrecy and hermeticism of the vice president's office.
Update: The linked story has updated, and it appears partisan efforts to claim that Libby is the victim of a politically motivated witch hunt -- a claim that was hard to justify to begin with -- are getting harder and harder to sustain: two of the three members of the appeals panel were appointed by Republicans.
So thus far we have Libby prosecuted by a Republican appointee, before a Republican-appointed judge (who sentenced Libby to a relatively harsh term and refused to grant him a delay), and his appeal rejected by a Republican-majority panel. Yep, definitely a witch hunt....
Libby, politics, midtopia