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Friday, February 24, 2006

FDL Late Nite: Barbara Comstock Goes Bottom Feeding

Scooter went a-fishin' for Marlins today and came back with a pocketful of guppies.

Libby's lawyers asked for copies of the notes he took during an 11 month period from 2003-2004 and got them, but that was about it.

They also wanted to know the identitity of the "Senior Administration Official" who leaked to Bob Woodward in June of 2002 (although the fact that it was an SAO is per Woodward, someone who has felt free to fabricate to protect the identity of his "sources" and nothing I'm putting too much stock in), but Judge Walton said no go:
Libby’s lawyers and Fitzgerald disagreed over whether the unidentified government official — who does not work at the White House — was referring to Plame or her husband when he said, “Everyone knows,” during a taped interview with investigators.

The defense said the official meant that most reporters knew that Plame worked at the CIA, as Libby testified before a federal grand jury. But Fitzgerald said the reference was to Wilson, who was not identified in initial media reports about the trip to Niger.
That seems to be all they've got -- Libby's lawyers consistently misstate what he's charged with distort basic facts in his defense. While I realize a lot of this is just standard throw everything against the wall and see what sticks tactics, it's also an indication that they haven't got a whole lot. So it's likely they either know Libby's guilty as shit or they have a client who is unwilling to actually let them defend him.

Neither of which puts them in a particularly enviable position.

According to the AP, Walton indicated that since the SAO has not been charged they have the right to privacy. But on Countdown tonight David Schuster seemed to be saying that to reveal the identity of that individual was getting to the "overall strategy" of Fitzgerald's investigation.

Both Schuster and the AP say that the investigation is, indeed, ongoing. Libby's lawyers also tried to block Fitzgerald from filing any information only the judge can see, including "strategy memos and classified information that he wants withheld from Libby's legal team." Walton said no dice to that, too. What's he gonna say? "You're right, I'd really rather be operating in the dark on this one."

The specter of the White House is always looming in the bakcground. According to Schuster, Walton put off deciding whether Libby was entitled to have access to the PDBs he's requested until the CIA has had time to review them. But Walton did say he is concerned that the request by Libby could "sabotage" the case because the President would no doubt invoke executive privilege.

And the white house computers seem to be recovering from the dreaded DC memory-sucking virus faster than their human counterparts:
The defense was told that the White House had recently located and turned over about 250 pages of e-mails from the vice president’s office. Fitzgerald, in a letter last month to the defense, had cautioned Libby’s lawyers that some e-mails might be missing because the White House’s archiving system had failed.
I seem to remember Judy Miller miraculously recovering some forgotten notes after her encounter with the Special Counsel. Fitzgerald's next gig will no doubt be a magic act with a couple of wild animals and a leggy bimbo in Vegas.

Redd had a good post up about the patent dishonesty of the charge that Fitzgerald's appointment to the case was unconstitutional, and Walton seemed to think about as much of it as Redd did. From a legal angle I suppose it is to be expected, and I might accept such bullshit tactics as just that -- were it not the lockstep with which people like the fashion challenged Byron York and CNN's Brian Todd were immediately parroting these canards that even a casual observer knew were false.

This seemed designed more for media consumption than success in court, a way to publicly call the legitimacy of both Fitzgerald and his investigation into question. Funny how it got smacked down immediately even at The Corner, and Andy McCarthy all but called Byron York a cheap hostile pimp.

Barbara Comstock must be desperate.

Update: How does the WaPo manage to print an entire article on the topic without mentioning the 250 pages of newly released emails from the Veep's office? I don't know but by jingo they do.

Update 2: Suzanne brings up an interesting point in the comments -- were the emails turned over last week, during Dickfest? Odd timing for the White House to be handing a loaded gun (so to speak) to Fitzgerald to point straight at Cheney.