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Monday, March 13, 2006

Libby Opinion Update: Materiality

In doing my Walton Order review yesterday, I neglected to include a note about the materiality issue that is still outstanding. Jeff kindly reminded me about this in the comments, and I want to be sure to hit that for a moment. (Had it in my copious notes, but missed it somehow in the write-up. Ooops.)

Jeralyn has graciously posted the Order and Memorandum on TalkLeft, so you can see the actual text for yourself, if you are interested.

Footnote 25 (on pages 22 and 23) goes to the heart of the materiality question. Essentially, the judge determined that, although he has granted a limited portion of the information in general summary form to be given to Team Libby for their review as a means to refresh Libby's recollection, he has made no determination whatsoever as to whether this information is even material -- at all -- to Libby's main case.

The determination on whether any of this is material to the charges has been put off until later, after Fitz and his team and other governmental agencies who are impacted (like the CIA) have had an opportunity to file their Section 4 motions under CIPA.

The judge goes on to say that he would be more likely to simply instruct the jury that Scooter Libby had a job which required him to work long hours on important matters of state and pretty much leave it at that, since Fitz isn't disputing that Libby had a busy job, and that nothing beyond really general topics would be allowed to be mentioned to the jury (you know, stuff like "Scooter Libby worked on national security matters."). Not at all what Team Libby was likely hoping for, I'm sure, but since there is nothing definite as to whether even the instruction will be given to a jury, Team Libby gets to continue to twist out there on their own.

Just wanted to be sure that this point didn't go unnoticed by the Traitorgate readers out there. In sum, Libby gets the information to jog his memory, but he may not get to present anything regarding the information to the jury if the judge decides that it's really not relevant to the question of why Scooter was a serial liar.

More to come, as this case moves forward -- and hopefully, if the grand jury continues its work, we'll have some more news to add in the days to come.

(Some love to The Sardonic Sideshow for the Pat Fitzgerald pix. And the giggle.)