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Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Team Libby Tap Dance, Part II

Team Libby has helpfully put their February 21st filing and affadavit online for everyone to peruse. (Hat tip to reader moi for the find.)

Some of my favorite bits:

-- On page 6 of the response, they argue that in any other criminal case, their request for 277 Presidential Daily Briefings would be routinely granted. My thought on that: Mwahahahahaha. Good one. We'll see what the Judge says on Friday.

-- Essentially all of their arguments on why Libby ought to have access to such a broad swath of highly classified material boils down to "we'd like to argue that he was a busy man, working on really important stuff, and we want to bolster our argument by inundating a jury with lots of scary things that the President deals with daily." Look for Fitz to simply agree to stipulate that Libby was busy and worked on a lot of important things -- and see if the judge will let it go at that stipulation.

It is Team Libby's argument to make that anything beyond that is material to the perjury, obstruction and false statements charges -- and, I would argue, that is an uphill battle for them.

-- On page 19, there is a fine legal distinction attempted on the George case. It's really more of an interest for the lawyers in the audience, but you can see how much of a hairsplitting argument will be made on both sides to the Judge on Friday -- and how so much of this is going to rest on arguments of materiality and relevance. Ought to be an intriguing hearing.

-- Begining on page 26, Team Libby makes the "since our client wasn't charged with IIPA or Espionage, then we get to argue Fitz didn't do his complete job as a defense," and are attempting to find some way (ANY way) to leverage the CIA against the USAtty's office -- which would be a fine idea, were it not for the fact that their client's lies and obstructive behavior has thrown a wrench into that very investigation.

There is a huge reason that obstruction, perjury and false statements are taken very seriously by law enforcement: one simply cannot allow a defendant to avoid criminal responsibility by lying his way around more serious charges. Period. And Scooter Libby is no exception to this rule. No amount of playing hide the ball obscures that fact, but they are trying to play this game anyway. We'll see if the Judge buys any of it.

-- The Wells affadavit on faulty memory defense is going to require some serious scientific evidence testimony to even get this through the door -- and it ought to be an amusing legal pretzel argument to watch. Especially given the reporting we've seen on the Scooter Libby Notebook on Joe Wilson and his obsessive discussion of Joe Wilson with anyone he could corner in the White House for weeks on end.

Also, there is the pesky fact that Scooter is a lawyer by initial training and education. A very highly paid lawyer, who would have known, up front, what the penalties for perjury and false statements would be to a grand jury, to a federal investigator and the penalties for deliberately obstructing a criminal investigation in a matter of national security.

It will be incredibly difficult for them to argue that Libby just misunderstood his responsibilities -- given his position in the government, his understanding of national security secrecy, his understanding of criminal penalties, and such, it will be very, very difficult indeed to go with the "he was just relly confused and tired" defense.

But hey, hope springs eternal, I suppose.

And speaking of the Scooter Libby defense fund folks, their website is up and running. You can take a peek here. Note that on the front page, Team Libby has a photo of Scooter with Hamid Karzai. (Clearly not trying to exploit 9/11 as a means of raising money. Nope. Not them.) The WaPo did a little article on the Who's Who involved in this, with a lovely quote from our favorite gal, Babs.
"These are people who have been involved in political activities for a long while and know things can get pretty rough . . . who are willing to put their good names behind Scooter's good name," Barbara Comstock, Libby defense fund spokesperson, said.
You know, the good name that he used to manipulate the media, selectively leak information from the NIE that bolstered the Administration's case for war, and out a CIA NOC. Fabulous! Nothing like having a Republican shill as one of your peeps!

And speaking of those NIE leaks, the LATimes has an article today about how Dick Cheney says some leaks are simply awful, while refusing to explain his role in authorizing in the selective NIE leaking from Scooter to reporters about town. Must suck when you are both the pot and the kettle.

In case you've missed it, Eriposte has a fantastic investigative series going at the LeftCoaster on the Niger forgeries -- and has recently added some updates, based on newly discovered information. Great stuff!