Monday, July 02, 2007

No delay for Libby

A federal appeals court unanimously refused to delay Lewis Libby's trip to prison while he appeals his conviction.

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....

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, I was right. Fitzgerald was never even able to establish that a crime had been committed. Therefore there's no way he could prove anyone guilty for a crime he had NO EVIDENCE even existed. So, what he did was kept some things to himself----like the fact he KNEW who Novak's source was. Plus, he even put a reporter in jail for 85 days when there was no underlying crime. If that's not prosecutorial misconduct, I don't know what is.

So, they are going to put a man in jail for maybe close to 3 years who simply tried to give his best memory of events and got some things mixed up....when there was NO CRIME to start with. Amazing.

If you'll recall reporter Tim Russert ALSO got some things mixed up----as he told the FBI one thing in his interview and then on the stand stated he never recalled telling them that. That's the very EXACT same kind of thing Fitzgerald claim is a LIE when done by Libby. Getting some things mixed up under oath is not the same thing as lying. Especially when it's not material. Especially when it's just your best memory and may be wrong. Especially when there is no underlying crime to be lying about in the first place.

Now, I think you should appreciate EXACTLY why AG Gonzales said, "I don't recall" or "I don't know" so many times when he was being questioned. That's because he realizes it's a witchhunt and Leahy and Schumer are ONLY interested in getting some inconsistency under oath to trap him. Unfortunately for Libby he tried to answer to his best recollection. Big mistake.

JP5

7/02/2007 3:30 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

We've been round and round on this, JP5. The law in question has a very high bar. Failing to reach that level of proof doesn't prove no wrongdoing occurred. Especially when you can prove that a key witness lied.

If that's not prosecutorial misconduct, I don't know what is.

You don't. Libby's lawyers, who do, aren't even talking about it.

So, they are going to put a man in jail for maybe close to 3 years who simply tried to give his best memory of events and got some things mixed up...

No, they're going to put a man in jail for demonstrably lying, in a manner that stretched any claim of "poor memory" beyond the point of credulity. Your pooh-poohing is akin to Rush excusing Abu Ghraib as "panties on the head" and "blowing off steam."

Now, I think you should appreciate EXACTLY why AG Gonzales said, "I don't recall" or "I don't know" so many times when he was being questioned.

So apparently we should never put anybody under oath, lest their words be used against them. There goes a pillar of our justice system.

7/02/2007 4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

President Bush just commuted the sentence of Lewis Libby. Pleases me to no end.....

JP5

7/02/2007 5:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So apparently we should never put anybody under oath, lest their words be used against them. There goes a pillar of our justice system."

No....apparently we should crack down hard on political witchhunts. Some of this kind of stuff was done to Clinton as well and it will be served up to the next Democrats in office as well. It seems that at some point EVEN Democrats and liberals would like to see an end to it. This game of "gotcha" gets us nowhere. Save it for the real crimes...like Cunningham and Jefferson participated in.

JP5

7/02/2007 5:10 PM  

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