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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Team Libby Files a Pushback Motion

Team Libby filed a response brief late Tuesday night to Fitz's latest filing (which we covered in detail here). They are most displeased about the characterization of their unprecedented request for 277 PDBs and scores of other classified documents which have tangential connection to charges of perjury, false statements and obstruction at best, as a "greymail" tactic.

According to Pete Yost of the AP, Team Libby says:
``Denying Mr. Libby's requests because they pertain to `extraordinarily sensitive' documents would have the effect of penalizing Mr. Libby for serving in a position that required him to address urgent national security matters every day,'' lawyers for the ex-White House aide wrote.

Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has accused Libby of attempting to engage in ``greymail,'' the practice of trying to derail prosecutions by seeking to expose national security secrets.

``The government's `greymail' accusation is not only false, but insulting,'' said Libby's lawyers, who assert that they are entitled to the classified material so that their client can get a fair trial.
Well, that is true that Team Libby would be entitled to classified material vital to Libby's defense -- but only if they can make a showing that the information requested is actually material to the charges which are alleged in the indictment. You don't just get whatever document you ask for without being able to say why it has a necessary relationship to your particular case -- the government doesn't just hand over national security documents without a very good reason. (And using them for political payback and silencing your critics doesn't count, just FYI, Dick Cheney...the NIE oughtn't be a political football. I'm just sayin'.)

Making the claim for all of these documents may be more difficult if the judge fails to buy Team Libby's novel "our client had a really busy job, and that made him repeatedly lie to federal investigators and the grand jury while under oath, so he shouldn't be held accountable for his conduct because he was a busy and important man" defense.
One of Libby's defenses is that if he made any incorrect statements to investigators, it was inadvertent.

``I tend to get between 100 and 200 pages of material a day that I'm supposed to read and understand and I - you know, I start at 6:00 in the morning and I go to 8 or 8:30 at night,'' Libby told the grand jury in testimony his lawyers released in their latest filing.

``I can't possibly recall all the stuff that I think is important, let alone other stuff that I don't think is as important ... I apologize if there's some stuff that I remember and some I don't,'' Libby added.
Shorter Libby: "Don't hate me because I'm busy and important, and don't hold me accountable for any lies I may tell you in the protection of my boss, Dick Cheney."

Team Libby had better hope they can refine that argument for the judge, because a DC jury is gonna laugh that one right out of the courtroom.

NOTE: I have a request for any reader who has access to the federal Pacer filing system. For some reason, I'm having difficulty getting in to pull this latest Libby response, so I need a hand.

The case information is U.S. vs. Libby, 05-394, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. If anyone can get in and pull the document off Pacer and send it to me, I will be most grateful. I'd rather see the response for myself than just rely on wire reports on what it says. Thanks in advance for anyone who can get this to me.

UPDATE: Wow, within fifteen minutes of posting this request, I've received 6 copies of the response brief. Have I mentioned how much I love our readers? Thanks everyone. I'll post an update after I get time to comb through the response and attachment.