United States v. Libby

"United States of America v. I. Lewis Libby, also known as "Scooter Libby"" (USA v. LIBBY, Case No. 1:2005-cr-00394-RBW) is the federal trial of former high-ranking George W. Bush administration official I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Libby served as assistant to President George W. Bush, chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, and assistant to the Vice President for national security affairs from 2001–2005. Libby resigned from his government positions hours after his indictment on October 28 2005.

Libby was indicted by a federal grand jury on five felony counts of making false statements to federal investigators, perjury for lying to a federal grand jury, and obstruction of justice for impeding the course of a federal grand jury investigation concerned with the possibly-illegal leaking by government officials of the classified identity of a covert agent of the CIA, Valerie E. Wilson (also known as "Valerie Plame"), the wife of former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. Pursuant to the grand jury leak investigation, Libby was convicted on March 6, 2007, on four counts of perjury, obstruction of justice, and making false statements, and he was acquitted of one count of making false statements. He was sentenced to thirty months in prison and fined $250,000. The sentence was commuted in June 2007 by President Bush, voiding the prison term. The convictions still stand on the record.

Events leading up to the trial

The Plame affair

The so-called Plame affair ensued after the identity of Valerie Plame was leaked to journalists, which took place after her husband Joseph Wilson criticized the Bush administration's rationale for the Iraq War on July 6, 2003 by publicly stating that he had found no evidence for the claim that Saddam Hussein's regime had attempted to buy yellowcake uranium in Niger (a claim that first emerged due to the Niger uranium forgeries) in a "New York Times" op-ed entitled "What I Didn't Find in Africa".Joseph C. Wilson IV, [http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/06/opinion/06WILS.html?pagewanted=1&ei=5007&en=6c6aeb1ce960dec0&ex=1372824000&partner=USERLAND "What I Didn't Find in Africa,"] "New York Times", July 6, 2003, accessed September 17, 2006.]

Wilson had been sent on a fact-finding mission to Niger but had found no evidence for the claim that Iraq had been attempting to buy yellowcake uranium in Africa, as part of an active weapons of mass destruction program. Nonetheless, this claim was repeated by president Bush during the Iraq disarmament crisis that preceded the Iraq War. President Bush's controversial "16 words" in his 2003 State of the Union Address alluded to the Niger claim: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." [ [http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/01/20030128-19.html "President Delivers "State of the Union: The U.S. Capitol"] , press release, "The White House", January 28, 2003, accessed July 23, 2007. (Full transcript of the speech.)] [See, e.g, [http://www.cnn.com/interactive/allpolitics/0307/bush.16.words/content2.html "16 Words"] and "previous" link as provided by "CNN.com", March 7, 2003, accessed July 23, 2007.] Bush's claim was apparently based on the forged uranium documents. On March 7, 2003, 11 days before the United States-led coalition invasion of Iraq, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its report determining that documents indirectly cited by President Bush as suggesting that Iraq had tried to buy 500 tons of uranium from Niger were actually "obvious" forgeries. [http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/03/07/sprj.irq.un.transcript.elbaradei/ "Transcript of El Baradei's U.N. Presentation"] , "CNN.com", March 7, 2003, accessed July 28, 2007.]

On July 14, 2003, a newspaper column commenting on Wilson's claims written by Robert Novak, entitled "Mission to Niger", disclosed Plame's name and status as an "operative" who worked in a CIA division on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Wilson, her husband, stated in various interviews and subsequent writings (as listed in his 2004 memoir "The Politics of Truth") that his wife's identity was covert and that members of the administration knowingly revealed it as retribution for his op-ed entitled "What I Didn't Find in Africa", published in "The New York Times" on July 6, 2003.Joseph C. Wilson 4th, [http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/06/opinion/06WILS.html?pagewanted=1&ei=5007&en=6c6aeb1ce960dec0&ex=1372824000&partner=USERLAND "What I Didn't Find in Africa"] , "The New York Times", July 6, 2003, accessed June 10, 2007.] In actuality, his wife's employment at the CIA was no longer classified.fix|link=Wikipedia:Contents|text=citation needed Victoria Toensing, who helped craft the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, claims in her Washington Post opinion piece [http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A2305-2005Jan11 The Plame Game: Was This a Crime?] that since Valerie Plame had not held a foreign post for over five years, she no longer qualified for covert status.

On September 26, 2003, at the request of the CIA, the Department of Justice and the FBI began a criminal investigation into the possible unauthorized disclosure of classified information regarding Valerie Wilson’s CIA affiliation to various reporters in the spring of 2003. During this ongoing federal inquiry "into the alleged unauthorized disclosure of a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee's identity," a possible violation of criminal statutes, including the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, and Title 18, United States Code, Section 793, Libby testified to FBI agents and to the grand jury.

Libby was charged with lying to FBI agents and to the grand jury about two conversations with reporters, Tim Russert of NBC News and Matt Cooper of "Time" magazine. According to the Indictment, the obstruction of justice count alleges that while testifying under oath before the grand jury on March 5 and March 24, 2004, Libby knowingly and corruptly endeavored to influence, obstruct and impede the grand jury’s investigation by misleading and deceiving the grand jury as to when, and the manner and means by which, he acquired, and subsequently disclosed to the media, information concerning the employment of Valerie Wilson by the CIA.

CIA grand jury investigation

The CIA leak grand jury investigation concerning the Plame affair began on October 31, 2003. Then-Attorney General John Ashcroft recused himself from the investigation due to conflicts of interest.Facts|date=July 2007

On December 30, 2003, Patrick J. Fitzgerald was named Special Counsel by Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey and charged with conducting the investigation into the Plame affair.James B. Comey, PDFlink| [http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/iln/osc/documents/ag_letter_december_30_2003.pdf "Memorandum of Deputy Attorney General"] |100 KiB (letter to Patrick J. Fitzgerald), 30 December 2003, accessed 18 March 2006.] Fitzgerald was granted the full plenary power of the Attorney General in the Libby case, as clarified by Comey in letters of February 6 2004, and August 12 2005.James B. Comey, PDFlink| [http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/iln/osc/documents/ag_letter_feburary_06_2004.pdf Letter of February 6, 2004] |97.4 KiB to Patrick J. Fitzgerald, 6 February, 2004, accessed 17 July, 2007.] James B. Comey, PDFlink| [http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/iln/osc/documents/2006_03_17_exhibits_a_d.pdf Exhibits] |1.17 MiB (letters to Patrick J. Fitzgerald, related memoranda, and transcripts), 30 December, 2003 to 17 March, 2006, accessed 17 July, 2007.]

On October 28, 2005, after twenty-two months of the investigation, Special Counsel Fitzgerald indicted Libby in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. On November 3 2005, Libby appeared at his arraignment before Judge Reggie B. Walton and pled not guilty.PDFlink| [http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/iln/osc/documents/libby_indictment_28102005.pdf "Indictment"] |152 KiB , "United States of America v. I. Lewis Libby", United States District Court for the District of Columbia, 28 October 2005, accessed 10 February 2007.]

The text of the filed indictment includes: one count of obstruction of justice (Title 18, United States Code, section 1503) for impeding the grand jury's investigation; two counts of perjury (18 USC §1623) for lying under oath before the grand jury on March 5 and March 24 2005; and two counts of making false statements (18 USC §1001(a)(2)) and in connection with for making "materially false and intentionally misleading statements" to FBI agents who interviewed him on October 14 and November 26 2004.

On November 16, 2005, "The Washington Post" senior editor Bob Woodward, who helped uncover the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon, revealed that he had just given testimony that another senior Bush administration official had given out information about Valerie Plame prior to and in addition to Mr. Libby. Fitzgerald had called Libby the first "known" official to do so - thus Woodward's revelation does not counter Fitzgerald's specific and carefully-worded characterization at that time.facts|date=March 2007

David Corn speculated that Libby is using Graymail as a defense tactic, based on the large amount of classified material that has been requested by his defense and the addition of the graymail expert John D. Cline to his defense team.David Corn, [http://www.thenation.com/blogs/capitalgames?bid=3&pid=57174] , "Capital Games" (blog), "The Nation".] Murray Waas, [http://nationaljournal.com/about/njweekly/stories/2006/0209nj1.htm "Administration: Cheney 'Authorized' Libby to Leak Classified Information"] , "The National Journal", 9 February, 2006, accessed 13 March, 2006.]

On February 3, 2006, Walton set a trial date of January 8 2007.John King, [http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/02/03/cia.leak/index.html "Ex-Cheney Aide Gets Trial Date: Libby Faces Charges Stemming from Leak of CIA Operative's Name"] , CNN, 3 February 2006, accessed 26 February 2007.]

On February 3,2006, the defense subpoenaed "The New York Times", its former reporter Judith Miller (who was in jail for 85 days after refusing to tell the grand jury about conversations she had with Libby), "Time" magazine and its reporter Matt Cooper, and Tim Russert of NBC News for documents related to the Plame affair. According to Pete Yost of the Associated Press, the subpoenaed reporters and organizations would have until April 7 to turn over the material or challenge the subpoenas:

The subpoena to Miller seeks her notes and other materials, including documents concerning Plame prepared by Miller and "Times" columnist Nicholas D. Kristof.
Kristof wrote the first account of the criticism that Plame's husband was leveling at the Bush administration. Referring to Plame's husband, though not by name, a May 6 2003, "Times" column by Kristof raised the possibility the Bush administration might have disregarded prewar intelligence suggesting Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction.
Three weeks after Kristof's column appeared, Libby started making inquiries at the State Department about the unnamed envoy in Kristof's column, according to the indictment.
The subpoena to the Times also calls for:
—Documents of contacts between any Times employee and any of eight people, including then-CIA Director George Tenet and then-White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, regarding Joe Wilson.
—Documents concerning a recent "Vanity Fair" article in which Miller said she talked to many people in the government about Plame.
—Drafts of a personal account by Miller, published in the Times, about her grand jury testimony.
—Documents regarding Miller's interactions with a Times editor in which Miller may have been told to pursue a story about Joe Wilson and a trip he made to Niger on behalf of the CIA.Pete Yost (Associated Press), [http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/newyork/ny-bc-ny--cialeak0316mar16,0,1648952.story?coll=ny-region-apnewyork "Libby Lawyers Subpoena Times, Other News Organizations"] , "Newsday", 16 March, 2006. [Outdated URL] .]

On February 9, 2006, Murray Waas reported in "The National Journal" that Libby had testified to the grand jury that he had been authorized by his superiors to disclose classified information regarding intelligence estimates of Iraq's weapons programs. Waas identified Vice President Cheney as one such superior on the basis of unpublished statements of lawyers with knowledge of the situation and documents that Waas says were filed with the court.

On February 23, 2006, Libby's attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the indictment against him. According to Toni Locy, reporting for the Associated Press, "The defense attorneys ... said Fitzgerald's appointment violated federal law because his investigation was not supervised by the attorney general."Toni Locy (Associated Press), [http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2006/02/24/ex_white_house_aide_seeks_dismissal_of_charges_in_leak_case/ "Ex-White House Aide Seeks Dismissal of Charges in Leak Case"] , "boston.com", 24 February, 2006, accessed 17 July, 2007.] Libby's attorneys argued that only the U.S. Congress can approve such an arrangement," and that the appointment of Fitzgerald as Special Counsel by then-United States Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey, himself acting as Attorney General in Ashcroft's place, violated the Appointments Clause (United States Constitution, Article II § 2).PDFlink| [http://www.scooterlibby.com/news/briefs/022306_motion_dismiss.pdf "Motion of I. Lewis Libby to Dismiss the Indictment and Memorandum in Support Thereof"] |1.67 MiB , "United States of America v. I. Lewis Libby", No. 05-314, United States District Court for the District of Columbia 23 February, 2006, accessed 17 March, 2006.] Cf. [http://mediamatters.org/items/200703060008 "Libby's Guilty Verdict: Media Myths and Falsehoods to Watch for"] , "Media Matters for America", 6 March, 2007, accessed 8 June, 2007.]

On April 5, 2006, court filings distributed widely in the press and news media the next day, revealed that Libby had testified during the grand jury investigation about information that Vice President Cheney and President Bush had authorized disclosing; reportedly, the original intent of the filing was to restrict Libby's access to further classified information in defense discovery. [ [http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/iraq/uslibby40506grsp.html "Allegation: Cheney Told 'Scooter' Libby That Bush Authorized Iraq Intelligence Leak, U.S. v. I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby"] , "FindLaw.com", April 5, 2006, accessed April 26, 2007.]

On April 13, 2006, Libby's lawyers indicated that neither Vice President Cheney nor President Bush ordered him to say anything about Valerie Plame.Facts|date=July 2007 A court filing by Libby's defense team argues that Valerie Plame was not foremost on the minds of administration officials as they sought to rebut charges made by her husband, Joseph Wilson, that the White House manipulated intelligence to make a case for invasion.The filing indicates that Libby's lawyers don't intend to say he was told to reveal Plame's identity. [ [http://www.nypost.com/news/nationalnews/62399.htm National News] , "New York Post", April 13, 2006, accessed April 26, 2007. [Outdated link.] ] The court papers also state that "Mr. Libby plans to demonstrate that the indictment is wrong when it suggests that he and other government officials viewed Ms. Wilson's role in sending her husband to Africa as important" and that his lawyers also plan to call to the stand Karl Rove, who remained under investigation at that time.Facts|date=July 2007

On May 24, 2006, Fitzgerald filed a response to a motion by Libby's lawyers, offering summaries of Libby's grand jury testimony and excerpts from Libby's testimony of March 5 2004 and March 24 2004. [Patrick J. Fitzgerald, PDFlink| [http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/files/Libby_060524_Fitz_Discovery.pdf "Reply to the Response of I. Lewis Libby to Government's Response to Court's Inquiry Regarding News Articles the Government Intends to Offer at Trial"] |70.8 KiB , "United States Department of Justice" (Case 1:05-cr-00394-RBW Document 110 Filed 05/24/2006), 5 June, 2004, rpt. by "JustOneMinute" (blog), accessed 13 March, 2007 (10 pages).] [Page 2 of PDFlink| [http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/files/Libby_060524_FitzEx.pdf "Exhibit A: In John Doe"] |516 KiB , (Case 1:05-cr-00394-RBW Document 110 Filed 05/24/2006), rpt. by "JustOneMinute" (blog), accessed 13 March, 2007.]

On September 1, 2006, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer described Libby's life as "having been ruined" for no reason and called on President Bush to pardon him.Facts|date=July 2007

On September 22 2006, according to Matt Apuzzo for the Associated Press, Libby's attorney's reported that "Libby Plans to Testify in CIA Leak Trial" United States v. Libby in his own defense.Matt Apuzzo, [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/22/AR2006092201236.html "Libby Plans to Testify in CIA Leak Trial"] , "The Washington Post", 22 September, 2006, accessed 28 April, 2007.]

Overview of the trial and the presidential commutation

The trial in the case of the "United States of America v. I. Lewis Libby" began on 16 January, 2007. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,1991680,00.html Q&A: Lewis 'Scooter' Libby Trial] .] On March 6, Libby was convicted of four out of the five counts against him. He was found guilty of two counts of perjury in testimony before a federal grand jury, one count of obstruction of justice in a federal grand jury investigation, and one of two counts of making false statements to federal investigators. He was acquitted on the second count of making false statements (indictment count three).

The jury rendered its verdict at noon on March 6, 2007.Introduction posted in Jeralyn Merritt, moderator, [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2007/03/06/DI2007030600559.html "Verdict in the Libby Trial"] , transcript, "The Washington Post" ("Live Online" discussion) 6 March, 2007, 2:00–3:00 p.m., ET.] It convicted Libby on four of the five counts against him—two counts of perjury, one count of obstructing justice in a grand jury investigation, and one of the two counts of making false statements to federal investigators—and acquitted him on one count of making false statements.David Stout and Neil Lewis, [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/06/washington/06cnd-libby.html?ex=1188795600&en=1963fd2ac8d8931e&ei=5087&excamp=GGGNlibbytrial "Libby Guilty of Lying in C.I.A. Leak Case] ", "The New York Times", 6 March, 2007, accessed 6 March, 2007.]

Initially, Libby's lawyers announced that they would be seeking a new trial but that, if they were not to get one, they would appeal Libby's conviction. [Michael J. Sniffen and Matt Apuzzo (Associated Press), [http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=2927810 "Libby Found Guilty in CIA Leak Trial:] Ex-Cheney Aide Libby Found Guilty of Obstruction, Perjury, Lying to the FBI in CIA Leak Case", "ABC News", 6 March, 2007, accessed 10 June, 2007 (4 pages).] Paul Courson, Brianna Keilar, Jeffrey Toobin, and Brian Todd, [http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2005/cia.leak/index.html "Libby Found Guilty of Perjury, Obstruction"] , "CNN Newsroom", 6 March, 2007, accessed 6 March, 2007.] [http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/03/06/cia.leak/index.html "Libby Lawyer Demands New Trial After Conviction"] , "CNN Newsroom" 6 March, 2007, accessed 6 march, 2007.] Later they decided not to seek a new trial, but they still plan to appeal Libby's conviction.Mel Sembler, [http://www.scooterlibby.com "Message from the Chairman"] , "Libby Legal Defense Trust", 1 June, 2007, accessed 7 June, 2007.] On June 5, 2007, Judge Reggie Walton sentenced Libby to 30 months in federal prison, a fine of $250,000, and two years of supervised release, including 400 hours of community service.Paul Courson, Brianna Keilar, Brian Todd, Jeffrey Toobin, and the Associated Press, [http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/06/05/cia.leak.trial/index.html "Libby Sentenced to 30 months in Prison"] , "CNN.com", 5 June, 2007, accessed 5 June, 2007.] Matt Apuzzo and Pete Yost (Associated Press), [http://boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2007/06/05/judge_libby_could_face_longer_sentence/?page=full "Libby Sentenced to 2 1/2 Years in Prison"] , "boston.com", 5 June, 2007, accessed 5 July, 2007.] See qualification in Jeralyn Merritt, [http://www.talkleft.com/story/2007/6/5/115845/4240 "Scooter Libby: 30 Months in Prison, $250k Fine"] , "TalkLeft" (accredited press blog), 5 June, 2007, accessed 5 June, 2007: "Note: CNN [in its television broadcasts and some online reports] erroneously reported that Libby's sentence included 2 years probation. In fact, it was supervised release, which is similar but different from probation, and replaced parole in the federal system in 1987."] Jeralyn Merritt, [http://www.talkleft.com/story/2007/7/5/12846/90740 "Libby: Life on Supervised Release"] , "TalkLeft" (accredited press blog), 5 July, 2007, accessed 8 July, 2007. (Provides link to PDF of Judge Walton's [http://www.talkleft.com/libbyjudgment.pdf "Judgment in a Criminal Case"] in United States v. Libby, filed 22 June, 2007, accessed 8 July, 2007.)] Libby appealed Judge Walton's subsequent order that he report to prison pending the appeal of his conviction. Two weeks later he lost that appeal.Cary O'Reilly, " [http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a3Fg82u4qIok&refer=home Libby, Ex-Cheney Aide, Must Go to Jail During Appeal (Update2)] ", "Bloomberg.com", 2 July, 2007, accessed 2 July, 2007. According to O'Reilly, "The appeals court case is U.S. v. Libby, 07-3068, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (Washington)."] Cf. Matt Apuzzo (Associated Press), [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070702.wlibby0702/BNStory/International/home "Court to Libby: Go Directly to Jail"] , "The Globe and Mail", 2 July, 2007, accessed 2 July, 2007. ["The U.S. Bureau of Prisons has not yet assigned Mr. Libby a prison or given him a date to surrender, but last week it designated him as federal inmate No. 28301-016."] ] See also the updated account in Matt Apuzzo, [http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/C/CIA_LEAK_TRIAL?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT "Court Won't Delay Libby Prison Sentence"] , "Associated Press", 2 July, 2007, 4:03 p.m. EDT, accessed 2 July, 2007.]

President Bush commuted Libby's sentence on 2 July 2007, eliminating the prison term while not changing the other parts and their conditions.Edwin Chen, [http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aA.bUy89_1hk&refer=home "Bush Commutes Libby's Prison Term in CIA Leak Case (Update 2)"] , "Bloomberg.com", 2 July, 2007, accessed 2 July, 2007.] George W. Bush, [http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/07/20070702-4.html "Grant of Executive Clemency: A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America"] , "The White House", 2 July, 2007, accessed 2 July, 2007.] Judge Walton queried aspects of that presidential commutation.Neil Lewis and Jim Rutenberg, " [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/06/washington/06libby.html "Libby Pays Fine; Judge Poses Probation Query"] , "The New York Times", 6 July, 2007, accessed 6 July, 2007.] Anderson Cooper, "Breaking News", "Anderson Cooper 360°", broadcast on CNN, 3 July, 2007, 10 p.m.-12 a.m. EDT, accessed July 3 2007.]

entencing of Libby

Given current federal sentencing guidelines, which are not mandatory, if he had been convicted on all five counts, Libby's sentence could have ranged from no imprisonment to imprisonment of up to 25 years and a fine of $1,000,000. Given those non-binding guidelines, according to lawyer, author, "New Yorker" staff writer, and CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on "Anderson Cooper 360°", the sentence based on Libby's conviction on four counts could have been between "one and a half to three years.""Anderson Cooper 360°", 6 March, 2007, 10:00 p.m–12:00 a.m., ET, live; scheduled to be repeated on 7 March, 2007, 1:00–3:00 a.m., ET.]

The United States Government was seeking a 30 to 37-month sentence according to the sentencing guidelines memorandum filed in court by prosecutor Fitzgerald.Jeralyn Merritt, [http://www.talkleft.com/story/2007/5/25/211021/920 "Scooter Libby: Gov't Seeks 30 to 37 Month Sentence"] , "TalkLeft" (accredited press blog), 25 May, 2007, accessed 26 May, 2007. (Provides link to 18-page sentencing memorandum.); cf. Jeralyn Merritt, [http://www.talkleft.com/story/2007/5/26/0826/06743 "Libby: Government Files Sentencing Guideline Calculations] ", "TalkLeft" (accredited press blog), 26 May, 2007, accessed 26 May, 2007.] On June 5, 2007, Libby was sentenced to thirty months in prison and fined $250,000. According to Apuzzo and Yost, the judge also "placed him on two years probation [supervised release] after his prison sentence expires. There is no parole in the federal system, but Libby would be eligible for [supervised] release after two years."Matt Apuzzo and Pete Yost (Associated Press), [http://boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2007/06/05/judge_libby_could_face_longer_sentence/?page=full "Libby Sentenced to 2 1/2 Years in Prison"] , "boston.com", 5 June, 2007, accessed 5 July, 2007.]

Libby ordered to jail pending appeal

According the CNN News, "After the June 5 sentencing, [Judge] Walton said he was inclined to jail Libby after the defense laid out its proposed appeal, but the judge told attorneys he was open to changing his mind"; however, on June 14, 2007, Judge Walton "ordered" Libby "to report to prison while his attorneys appeal his perjury and obstruction." [http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/06/14/libby.hearing/index.html "Judge Orders Libby Jailed during Appeal"] , "CNN News", 14 June, 2007, accessed 14 June, 2007.] Although "Libby's attorneys asked that the order be stayed ... U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton denied the request and told Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff that he has 10 days to appeal the ruling"; in denying Libby's request, which had questioned Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's "authority to charge Libby," as quoted by CNN, Judge Walton said: "'Everyone is accountable, and if you work in the White House, and if it's perceived that somehow (you're) linked at the hip, the American public would have serious questions about the fairness of any investigation of a high-level official conducted by the attorney general,'" supporting Fitzgerald's authority in the case. The judge was also responding to an Amicus curiae brief that he had permitted to be filed, which had not apparently convinced him to change his mind, as he subsequently denied Libby bail during his appeal.Cf. [http://www.scooterlibby.com/news/briefs/AmicusBrief.pdf "Motion for Leave to File Brief As Amici Curiae] and Brief of Law Professors Vikram Amar, Randy E. Barnett, Robert H. Bork, Alan M. Dershowitz, Viet D. Dinh, Douglas W. Kmiec, Gary S. Lawson, Earl M. Maltz, Thomas W. Merrill, Robert F. Nagel, Richard D. Parker, and Robert J. Pushaw As Amici Curiae in Connection with Defendant's Motion for Bail Pending Appeal", filed 8 June, 2007, online posting, "Scooter Libby Defense Trust", 7 June, 2007, accessed 15 June, 2007.] Prior to Judge Walton's order, Josh Gerstein stated, in "The New York Sun", "Bail remains a critical question for Libby. Judge Walton has indicated he is not inclined to grant it. Many political observers believe that if Libby gets bail and his appeals fail, he stands a better chance of receiving a presidential pardon because President Bush's term will be nearing its end. Technically, the scholars took no position on the question of bail, but if Judge Walton agreed with them [i.e., their arguments] , bail would be highly likely."Cf. Josh Gerstein, [http://www.nysun.com/article/56207 "National: Professors Back Libby on Appeal:] Group Includes Dershowitz, Bork", "The New York Sun", 8 June, 2007, updated 9 June, 2007, accessed 15 June, 2007.] Though "Judge Walton granted the scholars permission to file their brief," Gerstein reports, "his order doing so contained a caustic footnote questioning the motivation of the legal academics and suggesting he might not give a great deal of weight to their opinion [:]

"It is an impressive show of public service when twelve prominent and distinguished current and former law professors are able to amass their collective wisdom in the course of only several days to provide their legal expertise to the court on behalf of a criminal defendant," the judge wrote. "The Court trusts that this is a reflection of these eminent academics' willingness in the future to step to the plate and provide like assistance in cases involving any of the numerous litigants, both in this Court and throughout the courts of this nation, who lack the financial means to fully and properly articulate the merits of their legal positions even in instances where failure to do so could result in monetary penalties, incarceration, or worse. The Court will certainly not hesitate to call for such assistance from these luminaries, as necessary in the interests of justice and equity, whenever similar questions arise in the cases that come before it."

Noting that "Libby is the first sitting White House official to be indicted in 130 years," CNN News also reported that "At the beginning of Thursday's [June 5, 2007] hearing, Walton told the court that he had received 'harassing' and 'hateful' messages [:] 'In the interest of full disclosure, I have received a number of harassing, angry and mean-spirited phone calls and messages. Some wishing bad things on me and my family," the judge said. 'Those types of things will have no impact. ... I initially threw them away, but then there were more, some that were more hateful,' Walton said. 'They are being kept.'"

Jeffrey Toobin, CNN's senior legal analyst, "called the ruling 'a very dramatic and, to me, surprising decision,'" since, he pointed out, "'Many white collar defendants get bail pending appeal,' ... citing Martha Stewart and some insider traders as examples" and concluding: "'Judge Walton has had it with Scooter Libby,' who, Toobin said, also got a stiff sentence for his crimes in the first place. 'This is going to put President Bush in a very difficult position regarding the question of a pardon.'"

New York Times reporter Neil Lewis estimated subsequently that Libby's prison sentence could begin within "two months," explaining that

Judge Walton’s decision means that the defense lawyers will probably ask a federal appeals court to block the sentence, a long-shot move. It also sharpens interest in a question being asked by Mr. Libby’s supporters and critics alike: Will President Bush pardon Mr. Libby? ... So far, the president has expressed sympathy for Mr. Libby and his family but has not tipped his hand on the pardon issue. ... If the president does not pardon him, and if an appeals court refuses to second-guess Judge Walton’s decision, Mr. Libby will probably be ordered to report to prison in six to eight weeks’ time. Federal prison authorities will decide where. "Unless the Court of Appeals overturns my ruling, he will have to report," Judge Walton said.Neil A. Lewis and David Stout, [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/14/washington/14cnd-libby.htm "Judge Won't Delay Libby Prison Term"] , "The New York Times", 14 June, 2007, accessed 16 June, 2007.]

On June 20, 2007, Libby appealed Walton's ruling in federal appeals court.Associated Press, [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/20/washington/20brfs-libby.htm "Libby Appeals Sentencing Ruling"] , "New York Times", 20 June, 2007, accesssed 20 June, 2007.] The next day, Judge Walton filed a 30-page expanded ruling, in which he explained his decision to deny Libby bail in more detail.Josh Gerstein, [http://www.nysun.com/article/57156?page_no=1 "Libby Judge Files Expanded Opinion:] Details Decision Not Allowing Libby to Remain Free", "New York Sun", June 22, 2007, accessed June 22, 2007.]

On July 2, 2007, according to Cary O'Reilly (Bloomberg News) and other news media, "the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ... [unanimously] denied his request for release. The decision will increase pressure on President George W. Bush to decide soon whether to pardon Libby, 56, as the former White House official's supporters have urged."

Presidential pardon and clemency issues

Soon after the verdict, calls for Libby to be pardoned by President George W. Bush began to appear in some newspapers; some of them are posted online by the Libby Legal Defense Trust." [http://www.scooterlibby.com/news/ Libby Legal Defense Trust: In the News] "; the Libby Legal Defense Trust also features a "Message from the Chairman", former Ambassador Mel Sembler, and the Advisory Committee, 1 June, 2007, accessed 7 March, 2007.] U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid issued a press release about the verdict, urging President Bush to pledge not to pardon Libby, and other Democratic politicians followed his lead.Harry Reid, [http://democrats.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=270165& press release] , "democrats.senate.gov", 6 March, 2007, accessed 5 April, 2007; cf. news account in [http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/03/06/cia.leak/index.html "Democrats to Bush: Don't Pardon Libby"] , CNN News 7 March, 2007, accessed 5 April, 2007.]

Surveying "the pardon battle" and citing both pro and con publications, "The Washington Post" online columnist Dan Froomkin concludes that many U.S. newspapers opposed a presidential pardon for Libby.Dan Froomkin, [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/blog/2007/06/07/BL2007060701120.html "Many Newspapers Oppose Pardon"] , "White House Watch" (column and blog), "washingtonpost.com", 7 June, 2007, accessed 7 June, 2007.] In an op-ed published in the "The Washington Post", former federal prosecutor William Otis argues that the sentence is too stringent and that, instead of pardoning Libby, President Bush should commute his sentence.William Otis, [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/06/AR2007060602292.html?hpid=opinionsbox1 "Neither Prison Nor Pardon: Justice in the Libby Case Lies With Bush's Third Option"] , "The Washington Post", 7 June, 2007: A-27; online posting, "washingtonpost.com", 7 June, 2007, accessed 7 June, 2007.]

After the sentencing, President Bush stated on camera: "... [I] will not intervene until Libby's legal team has exhausted all of its avenues of appeal ... It wouldn't be appropriate for me to discuss the case until after the legal remedies have run its course."Jim Rutenberg, [http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/06/07/news/leak.php "Bush in Dilemma on Libby Pardon"] , "International Herald Tribune", 7 June, 2007, accessed 7 June, 2007.]

Presidential commutation of Libby's prison sentence

After denial of Libby's bond by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, President Bush commuted the prison term portion of Libby's sentence on 2 July, 2007, leaving in place the felony conviction, the $250,000 fine, and the terms of probation (supervised release).

The President's commutation statement states (in part):

Mr. Libby was sentenced to thirty months of prison, two years of probation, and a $250,000 fine. In making the sentencing decision, the district court rejected the advice of the probation office, which recommended a lesser sentence and the consideration of factors that could have led to a sentence of home confinement or probation. I respect the jury’s verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby’s sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison. My decision to commute his prison sentence leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr. Libby.

When Keith Olbermann interviewed former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, the husband of Valerie Wilson, on the MSNBC television program "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" on the night of July 2, 2007, Joe Wilson expressed his and others' outrage:

There is nothing this administration does that shocks me anymore - it is corrupt from top to bottom.
... American citizens were outraged that the president of the United States would short circuit the rule of law and the system of justice.
... We know in America the difference between right and wrong, even if this administration doesn't.Keith Olbermann, interview of Joseph C. Wilson, [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNZm1EMAmKg Video clip] , "YouTube", "Countdown", MSNBC, 2 July, 2007, accessed 3 July, 2007.]

Wilson also complained (as he has done before) that the President's action and others' actions leading to Bush's commutation of Libby's sentence could seriously damage United States national security by harming its intelligence capability - "for the CIA, its covert officers, and for the agents that are recruited by officers, those who would put their lives at risk in order to obtain the intelligence we need will think long and hard about it when they see that the administration with impunity will betray its covert officers, will engage in treason."

On the following evening, in his "Special Comment," Olbermann called for both President Bush and Vice-President Cheney to resign.Keith Olbermann, [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19588942/ "Olbermann: Bush, Cheney Should Resign:] 'I didn’t vote for him, but he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.’" "Countdown with Keith Olbermann", "MSNBC", 4 July, 2007, Special Comment, accessed 4 July, 2007.]

Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald objected to President Bush's characterizing Libby's sentence as "excessive," stating:

We fully recognize that the Constitution provides that commutation decisions are a matter of presidential prerogative and we do not comment on the exercise of that prerogative. We comment only on the statement in which the President termed the sentence imposed by the judge as "excessive." The sentence in this case was imposed pursuant to the laws governing sentencings which occur every day throughout this country. In this case, an experienced federal judge considered extensive argument from the parties and then imposed a sentence consistent with the applicable laws. It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals. That principle guided the judge during both the trial and the sentencing.Patrick Fitzgerald, [http://www.talkleft.com/LibbyTrial/LibbyPJFstatement7-2-07.pdf "Statement of the Special Counsel"] , Office of Special Counsel, 2 July, 2007, accessed 3 July, 2007; see also [http://www.mediainfo.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003606511 "Statement of Special Counsel"] , "Editor & Publisher", "mediainfo.com", 3 July, 2003, accessed 3 July, 2007. ]

The day after the commuting of Libby's sentence, James Rowley (Bloomberg News) reported that President Bush has not ruled out pardoning Libby in the future and that Bush's press spokesman, Tony Snow, denied any political motivation in the commutation. Quoting Snow, Rowley added: "'The president is getting pounded on the right because he didn't do a full pardon.' If Bush were 'doing the weather-vane thing' he 'would have done something differently.'"James Rowley, [http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601070&sid=abKC.Z877YPk&refer=home "Bush Won't Rule Out Pardon for Libby as Aide Defends Clemency"] , "Bloomberg.com", 3 July, 2007, accessed 3 July, 2007.]

Nevertheless, that evening CNN reported that, pursuant to widespread criticism by Democratic leaders and other Democratic politicians, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D, Michigan) announced that there would be a formal Congressional investigation of Bush's commutation of Libby's sentence and other presidential reprieves.Anderson Cooper, "Breaking News", "Anderson Cooper 360°"', broadcast on CNN, 3 July, 2007, 10 p.m.-12 a.m. EDT, accessed 3 July, 2007; cf. [http://www.usnews.com/usnews/politics/bulletin/bulletin_070703.htm "Political Bulletin: Bush Bashed Over Libby Commutation:] Furious Democrats Will Hold Hearings", "US News and World Reports", 3 July, 2007, accessed 3 July, 2007.] "The Use and Misuse of Presidential Clemency Power for Executive Branch Officials", held by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee and chaired by Congressman Conyers, occurred on July 11, 2007.

Responses to verdict

Comment on the verdict by prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald

Speaking to the media outside the courtroom after the verdict, prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said that "The jury worked very long and hard and deliberated at length ... [and] was obviously convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had lied and obstructed justice in a serious manner. ... 'I do not expect to file any further charges,' Fitzgerald said. 'We're all going back to our day jobs.'" [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17479718/from/RS.2/ "Jurors Convict Libby on Four of Five Charges:] Cheney’s Ex-aide Faces Jail Time in CIA Leak Case; Sentencing Set for June", "MSNBC", 6 March, 2007, updated 9:18 p.m., ET, accessed 7 March, 2007.] [http://www.cnn.com/video/portable/promoplayer.html?mode=vod&video=/video/law/2007/03/06/sot.fitzgerald.libby.verdict.cnn&source=pop/ CNN video clip of Fitzgerald's remarks] , 6 March, 2007, accessed 8 June, 2007. (Access limited to one viewing per day.)] As "the trial confirmed [that the leak] came first from then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage," and since Fitzgerald did not charge Armitage and expects to charge no one else, Libby's conviction "closed ... the nearly-four year investigation into how the name of Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, and her classified job at the CIA were leaked to reporters in 2003 just days after Wilson publicly accused the administration of doctoring prewar intelligence."Michael J. Sniffen and Matt Apuzzo (Associated Press), [http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=2927810 "Libby Found Guilty in CIA Leak Trial:] Ex-Cheney Aide Libby Found Guilty of Obstruction, Perjury, Lying to the FBI in CIA Leak Case", "ABC News", 6 March, 2007, accessed 10 June, 2007.]

During his October 28, 2005 press conference about the grand jury's indictment of Libby, Fitzgerald had already explained that Libby's obstruction of justice through perjury and false statements had "prevented him [Fitzgerald] -- and the grand jury -- from determining whether the alleged leak violated federal law," due to Libby's obscuring the facts of his own discussions about the then-still-classified covert CIA identity of Valerie Plame (what he had said to whom, when, where, and why). [http://mediamatters.org/items/200703060008 "Libby's Guilty Verdict: Media Myths and Falsehoods to Watch for"] , "Media Matters for America", 6 March, 2007, accessed 8 June, 2007.] [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/28/AR2005102801340.html Transcript of Special Counsel Fitzgerald's press conference] , "The Washington Post", 28 October, 2005, accessed 8 June, 2007.]

During his media appearance outside the courtroom after the verdict in the Libby case, Fitzgerald fielded questions from the press about others involved in the Plame affair and in the CIA leak grand jury investigation, such as Richard Armitage and Vice President Dick Cheney, whom he had already described as "under a cloud" (so to speak) caused by Libby's obstruction of justice, as already addressed in his conduct of the case and in his closing arguments in court. [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17500261/ Transcript] and video clips presented on "Hardball with Chris Matthews", MSNBC, 6 March, 2007, 7:00–8:00 p.m., ET; repeated on 7 March, 2007, 3:00–4:00 a.m., ET.] Jeralyn Merritt, [http://www.talkleft.com/story/2007/2/24/141015/646 "Fitz Closing in Libby; Cheney Is Under a Cloud"] "TalkLeft" (accredited press blog), 24 February 2007, accessed 8 June 2007, observes that "Fitzgerald squarely blames Libby for putting the cloud on the Vice President," quoting from Fitzgerald's closing arguments, e.g.:

There is a cloud over the vice president. He sent Libby off to [meet with former New York Times reporter] Judith Miller at the St. Regis Hotel. At that meeting, the two hour meeting, the defendant [Libby] talked about the wife [Plame] . We didn't put that cloud there. That cloud remains because the defendant obstructed justice and lied about what happened. ... He's put the doubt into whatever happened that week, whatever is going on between the Vice President and the defendant, that cloud was there. That's not something that we put there. That cloud is something that we just can't pretend isn't there.

Comment on the verdict by Libby's defense team

After the verdict, initially, Libby's lawyers announced that he would seek a new trial, and that, if that attempt were to fail, they would appeal Libby's conviction. [http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2005/cia.leak/index.html "Libby Found Guilty of Perjury, Obstruction"] , "CNN Newsroom", 6 March, 2007, accessed 6 March, 2007.] [http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/03/06/cia.leak/index.html "Libby Lawyer Demands New Trial After Conviction"] , "CNN Newsroom", 6 March, 2007, accessed 6 march, 2007.] "'We have every confidence Mr. Libby ultimately will be vindicated,' defense attorney Theodore Wells told reporters. He said that Libby was 'totally innocent and that he did not do anything wrong.' Libby did not speak to reporters." His lawyers took no questions.

Although later Libby's defense team decided against seeking a new trial, his supporters continued to speak of appealing the verdict prior to sentencing.Ambassador Mel Sembler, Chairman, Libby Defense Trust, and the Advisory Committee, [http://www.scooterlibby.com/ "Message from the Chairman"] , "Libby Defense Trust", "scooterlibby.com", 1 June, 2007, accessed 5 June, 2007.]

Comment on the verdict by juror Denis Collins

As reported in "CNN Newsroom", and subsequently on "Larry King Live" on CNN and by various other television networks, including MSNBC (on "Scarborough Country"), one juror––"Denis Collins, a Washington resident and self-described registered Democrat," who is a former reporter for "The Washington Post" and author of a book on espionage––"said he and fellow jurors found that passing judgment on Libby was 'unpleasant.' But in the final analysis, he said jurors found Libby's story just too hard to believe.... 'We're not saying we didn't think Mr. Libby was guilty of the things we found him guilty of, but it seemed like ... he was the fall guy'.... Collins said the jury believed Libby was 'tasked by the vice president to go and talk to reporters.'" [http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/03/06/libby.juror/index.html "Juror: Libby Is Guilty, But He Was Fall Guy"] , "CNN Newsroom", 6 March, 2007, accessed 6 March, 2007.] Cf. "Larry King Live" and "Scarborough Country", first aired 9:00–10:00 p.m., ET, accessed live; repeated at 12:00–1:00 a.m., ET.] Joe Strupp, [http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/search/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003554336 "Former Colleagues at 'Wash Post' Discuss (Now Famous) Libby Juror"] , "Editor & Publisher", 6 March, 2007, 5:05 p.m., ET, accessed 6 March, 2007. (Subscription with archive required.)] Collins offers a day-by-day account of his experience as Juror #9 at the Libby trial in an "Exclusive" at "The Huffington Post".Denis Collins, [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thenewswire/docs/libby/ "Inside the Jury Room:] Huffington Post Exclusive: What the Jury Thought, Day by Day, Witness by Witness, at the Scooter Libby Trial", "The Huffington Post", 7 March, 2007, accessed 7 March, 2007.]

Responses to commutation

President Bush's commutation of Libby's prison sentence became the subject of a hearing on "The Use and Misuse of Presidential Clemency Power for Executive Branch Officials" held by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Representative John Conyers, Jr., on July 11, 2007. [http://www.usnews.com/usnews/politics/bulletin/bulletin_070703.htm "Political Bulletin: Bush Bashed Over Libby Commutation:] Furious Democrats Will Hold Hearings", "US News and World Reports", Washington News, July 3 2007, accessed July 3 2007.] [http://judiciary.house.gov/oversight.aspx?ID=346 "The Use and Misuse of Clemency Powers by Officials of the Executive Branch"] , "judiciary.house.gov", 11 July, 2007, accessed 11 July, 2007.] Julie Hirschfeld Davis (Associated Press), [http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2007Jul11/0,4670,LibbyClemency,00.html "Bush Refuses to Explain Libby Order"] , "FoxNews.com", 11 July, 2007, accessed 11 July, 2007.]

peculation about possible witnesses prior to the start of the trial

In May 2006, the Associated Press had reported that Patrick Fitzgerald was considering calling Vice President Cheney as a witness for the prosecution. [Associated Press, [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12961060/ "Special Counsel: Cheney May Be Called to Testify"] , "MSNBC" 26 May, 2006.] In December 2006, at a pretrial hearing, defense lawyer Theodore Wells reportedly said: "'We're calling the vice president.'" If that had occurred, it would have marked the first time that a sitting Vice President was called to testify in a criminal trial.Kevin Bohn, [http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/02/22/cia.leak.notebook/index.html?section=cnn_latest "Libby Trial Watchers Wonder What May Have Been"] , "CNN", 22 February, 2007, accessed 2 March, 2007.]

On December 19 2006, news organizations reported that Vice President Dick Cheney would be called to testify as a witness for the defense and that "former New York Times reporter Judith Miller and NBC News Washington bureau chief Tim Russert were expected to be prosecution witnesses" during Libby's trial, to begin in January 2007.James Vicini (Reuters), [http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2006/12/19/defense_in_cia_leak_case_to_call_cheney_to_testify/ "Cheney To Be Called to Testify in CIA Leak Case"] , "The Boston Globe", 19 December, 2006, accessed 20 December 2006.] Matt Apuzzo (Associated Press), [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2006/12/19/national/w115212S64.DTL&type=politics "Cheney to Be Defense Witness in CIA Case"] , "San Francisco Chronicle", 19 December, 2006, accessed 20 December, 2006.]

Ultimately, Vice President Cheney was not called as a witness in the trial. [Amy Goldstein and Carol D. Leonnig, [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/13/AR2007021300122.html "Libby Defense to Rest Without Testimony by Him or Cheney"] , "The Washington Post", 14 February, 2007.]

In a January 2007 interview with Wolf Blitzer, Cheney commented on the ongoing trial: "Now, Wolf, you knew when we set up the interview you can ask all the questions you want, I'm going to be a witness in that trial within a matter of weeks, I'm not going to discuss it. I haven't discussed with anybody in the press yet, I'm not going to discuss it with you today." [Qtd. in a transcript of [http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/01/20070124-3.html "Interview of the Vice President by Wolf Blitzer, CNN 'Situation Room'"] , originally broadcast on "The Situation Room" 24 January, 2007, 9:50 a.m., ET-10:12 a.m., ET), press release, online posting by The Office of the Vice President, "The White House", 24 January, 2007, News & Policies ("for immediate release").]

Press coverage of the trial

Blogs have played a prominent role in the press coverage of this trial. Scott Shane, in his article "For Liberal Bloggers, Libby Trial Is Fun and Fodder," published in "The New York Times" on February 15, 2007, quotes Robert Cox, president of the Media Bloggers Association, who observes that United States of America v. I. Lewis Libby is "the first federal case for which independent bloggers have been given official credentials along with reporters from the traditional news media."Scott Shane, [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/15/washington/15bloggers.html "For Liberal Bloggers, Libby Trial Is Fun and Fodder"] , "The New York Times" 15 February, 2007 [appended correction] .] " [http://www.mediabloggers.org/scooter-libby-trial The Scooter Libby Trial] ", "Media Bloggers Association", 20 February, 200728 June, 2007 (updated periodically), accessed 30 June, 2007.]

On January 3, 2007, the first team of bloggers to announce that they had been granted press credentials was "Firedoglake", a progressive blog founded by Jane Hamsher.Christy Hardin Smith, [http://www.firedoglake.com/2007/01/03/guess-who-is-going-to-dc/ "Guess Who Is Going To DC?"] "Firedoglake" (accredited press blog) 3 January, 2007, accessed 15 February, 2007.] Less than a week later, on January 9, the Media Bloggers Association (MBA) announced that several of its affiliated bloggers had been granted press credentials too. [Robert Cox, [http://www.mediabloggers.org/robert-cox/federal-court-credentials-bloggers "Federal Court Credentials Bloggers"] , "Media Bloggers Association", 9 January, 2007, accessed February 15, 2007.]

Among those representing the traditional press media — what many bloggers term the "Mainstream media" (or "MSM") — reporter David Shuster began live blogging the trial for MSNBC on "Hardblogger," an online feature linked at "Hardball with Chris Matthews", as well as reporting on camera in segments of various MSNBC News programs.David Shuster, [http://hardblogger.msnbc.msn.com/default.aspx "Prosecutors Introduce First Evidence at Libby Trial"] , "Hardblogger" (accredited press blog), "MSNBC", 23 January, 2007, accessed 24 January, 2007.] A transcript of Schuster's broadcast report on the first day of the trial, during which Schuster says that the prosecution summarized evidence to support its allegations that Vice President Dick Cheney was involved in Libby's actions relating to the Plame affair, is posted on several of these news blogs.Jeralyn Merritt, [http://www.talkleft.com/story/2007/1/23/205811/204 "The Scooter Libby Headline for Day One"] , "TalkLeft" (accredited press blog), 23 January, 2007, accessed 24 January, 2007:

The prosecutors said the evidence will make it clear that the very first government official who told Scooter Libby about Valerie Wilson, the wife of a critic and the fact that she was working at the CIA, the very first person who told him that was Vice President Cheney. The prosecutor said the evidence will also show Vice President Cheney himself directed Scooter Libby to essentially go around protocol and deal with the press and handle press himself, that Scooter Libby should be the one talking to the press to try to beat back the criticism of administration critic Joe Wilson.... Prosecutors also revealed today that Vice President Cheney himself wrote out for Scooter Libby what Scooter Libby should say in a conversation with " [Time (magazine)|Time Magazine" reporter Matt Cooper. It was during that conversation when Scooter Libby provided confirmation to Cooper that Valerie Wilson worked at the CIA. In addition, there were some blockbuster revelations this morning about Scooter Libby’s actions before he testified to the FBI about the original leak. According to prosecutors, the evidence will show that Scooter Libby destroyed a note from Vice President Cheney about their conversations and about how Vice President Cheney wanted the Wilson matter handled. (Transcript of televised report by David Shuster, as prepared by "ThinkProgress" (Center for American Progress.)]

Media Bloggers Association (MBA), which describes itself as a "non-partisan organization" for promoting blogging as a distinct form of media, presents a live media feed syndicating both liberal and right-wing blog posts. The MBA also has an agreement with the Associated Press to run coverage by bloggers on the AP wire. [ [http://www.mediabloggers.org/scooter-libby-trial "The Scooter Libby Trial"] ; cf. [http://www.mediabloggers.org/mba-news/associated-press-to-carry-bloggers-coverage-of-libby-trial "Associated Press To Carry Bloggers' Coverage of Libby Trial"] .]

Some controversy arose among various bloggers about who is primarily responsible for acquiring Libby trial press credentials, with numerous mainstream-media accounts, including "The Washington Post", giving Cox and his Media Bloggers Association credit:

...for the first time in a federal court, two of these seats [in the actual courtroom] will be reserved for bloggers. After two years of negotiations with judicial officials across the country, the Media Bloggers Association, a nonpartisan group with about 1,000 members working to extend the powers of the press to bloggers, has won credentials to rotate among his members. The trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the highest-ranking Bush administration official to face criminal charges, could "catalyze" the association's efforts to win respect and access for bloggers in federal and state courthouses, said Robert Cox, the association's president.
Robert Cox is trying to foster standards. His Media Bloggers Association won court credentials for bloggers.... [Alan Sipress, [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/10/AR2007011002424.html "Too Casual To Sit on Press Row?] Bloggers' Credentials Boosted With Seats at the Libby Trial", "The Washington Post", 11 January, 2007, accessed 25 January 25, 2007 (registration required).]

Bloggers from "Firedoglake" disputed some of these statements. [ [http://www.firedoglake.com/2007/02/15/about-those-jury-instructions/ "About Those Jury Instructions"] , "Firedoglake" (accredited press blog) 15 February, 2007, accessed 15 February, 2007.] [ Cf. Marcy Wheeler, [http://thenexthurrah.typepad.com/the_next_hurrah/2007/02/on_bringing_me_.html "On Bringing Me into the Feed"] , "The Next Hurrah" (blog), 8 February, 2007, accessed 15 February, 2007 (on process of gaining accreditation as a press blogger).] Scott Shane's article in "The New York Times" contains the following "appended correction":

[The] front-page article on Thursday about bloggers covering the perjury trial of I. Lewis Libby Jr. referred imprecisely to the role of Robert A. Cox, president of the Media Bloggers Association, in securing credentials. Mr. Cox negotiated access for his association, which was the first blogger group to be granted credentials to cover the trial. He did not negotiate on behalf of firedoglake.com and other blogs that received their credentials later.
Shane concludes: "With no audio or video feed permitted, the Firedoglake 'live blog' has offered the fullest, fastest public report available. Many mainstream journalists use it to check on the trial."

On February 7 2007, during the examination of journalist Tim Russert, as covered on MSNBC, video clips of Libby's Grand Jury testimony were played; Russert's current testimony contradicts key parts of Libby's previous testimony, in that on the stand Russert denied that he told (or even could have told) Libby about Mrs. Wilson's working for the CIA, as Libby has claimed. [ [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17020411/ "Russert Testifies in Libby Perjury Trial:] Packed Court Hears NBC Newsman Deny Identifying CIA Operative", "Hardball with Chris Matthews", "MSNBC", 7 February 2007, accessed 9 February 2007 (free video clip provided). "The Washington Post" provides audio clips and transcripts of Libby's Grand Jury Testimony for March 5 2004 and March 24 2004, cited by Jeralyn Merritt, [http://www.talkleft.com/story/2007/2/7/232655/4436 "Today's Russert Testimony"] . "TalkLeft" (accredited press blog), 7 February 2007, accessed February 9 2007.] [An audio clip and transcript of the complete testimony are presented by National Public Radio in [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7262723 "Legal Affairs: Lewis Libby's Complete Grand Jury Testimony"] , "npr.org" ,9 February 2007, accessed 17 February 2007 (duration: 8 hours).]

On February 13, as the defense was beginning to present its case, however, defense lawyers told the court that neither Cheney nor Libby would be taking the stand. [Amy Goldstein and Carol D. Leonnig, [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/13/AR2007021300122.html "Libby Defense to Rest Without Testimony by Him or Cheney"] , "The Washington Post", 14 February, 2007.] Jeralyn Merritt, [http://www.talkleft.com/story/2007/2/14/22576/9691 "The Defense Rests"] , "TalkLeft" (accredited press blog), February 14 2007, accessed 16 February 2007.]

In addition to their blogging, Jane Hamsher (creator of "Firedoglake"), Marcy Wheeler (author of the recently-published book "Anatomy of Deceit"Marcy Wheeler, "Anatomy of Deceit: How the Bush Administration Used the Media to Sell the Iraq War and Out a Spy" (Berkeley: Vaster Books [Dist. by Publishers Group West] , 2007), ISBN 0-979-17610-7 (10), ISBN 978-0979-17610-4 (13).] ), and/or Jeralyn Merritt, criminal defense attorney and founder of "TalkLeft", who has been cross-posting at "The Huffington Post", have also been appearing on camera via "PoliticsTV.com" at the end of most days to sum up that day's legal proceedings directly observed in the courtroom, providing links to these video programs in their online accounts. For example, they appeared on camera to present their views of February 14, the day the defense rested, and did a similar roundup at the end of the trial, covering the closing arguments for the prosecution and the defense, with the prosecution speaking last, as Merritt observed.

Both the defense and the prosecution presented their closing arguments on Tuesday, 20 February, and the next day, 21 February, the jury began deliberating whether to convict or to acquit Libby on some or all of the charges against him.Jeralyn Merritt, [http://www.talkleft.com/story/2007/2/16/13045/0945 "Libby's Lawyers Ask for Four Hour Closing Argument"] , "TalkLeft" (accredited press blog) 16 February, 2007, accessed 16 February 2007; provides links to court documents and various other media accounts.] Jeralyn Merritt, [http://www.talkleft.com/story/2007/2/20/125234/432 "Libby Closing Arguments"] , "TalkLeft" (accredited press blog), 20 February 2007, accessed 21 February 2007; cross-posted by the author at "The Huffington Post"; cf. [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeralyn-merritt/2007/02/ List containing links to these February 2007 entries] .] Jeralyn Merritt [http://www.talkleft.com/story/2007/2/21/23551/6143 "Libby Trial: Missing the Forest For the Trees"] (title rendered as corrected by author), "TalkLeft" (accredited press blog), 21 February 2007, accessed 23 February 2007; cross-posted by the author at "The Huffington Post"; cf. [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeralyn-merritt/libby-trial-missing-the_b_41734.html "Missing the Forest for the Trees"] .]

Beginning on 26 February, the mass media reported that one of the twelve jurors had been "dismissed" because she "was exposed to information about the trial...but the judge allowed the panel to continue deliberations with 11 members."Richard B. Schmitt, [http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-libby27feb27,1,568233.story?coll=la-headlines-nation&ctrack=1&cset=true "Libby Juror Dismissed:] Panel of 11 Continues Deliberations," "The Los Angeles Times", 27 February 2007, accessed 27 February 2007.]

Book on the case

An "instant book" on USA v. LIBBY, entitled "The United States v. I. Lewis Libby" ("Edited with Reporting by Murray Waas" with research assistance by Jeff Lomonaco), was published by Sterling Publishing's Union Square Press imprint on 5 June 2007.Press release, Sterling Publishing, March 6, 2007, downloadable document file from publisher's [http://www.sterlingpublishing.com/sterling/press-room "press room] " (miscoded filename as PDF; it is a DOC file: [http://www.sterlingpublishing.com/file_download/24 US_v_ILewisLibby_Release.doc"] ); see [http://www.wood-books.com/catalog?isbn=9781402752599 catalogue description] ; both accessed June 18, 2007.] Raphael Schweber-Koren (R.S.K.), of Media Matters for America, draws upon Waas's book in pointing out fallacies and other errors in the arguments calling for overturning Libby's conviction, reducing his sentence, or pardoning him.R.S.K. [Raphael Schweber-Koren] , [http://mediamatters.org/items/200706210004?f=h_latest "Exonerating Libby of Underlying Crime, Post's Cohen Confused about Elements"] , "Media Matters for America", June 21, 2007, accessed June 22, 2007; inc. hyperlinked article references.]

YearlyKos panel on live-blogging the trial

YearlyKos, a political convention for American liberal political activists, organized by readers and writers of "Daily Kos", an influential American political blog, which took place in Chicago from August 2 through August 5, 2007, hosted a panel discussion, on August 2, by Christy Hardin Smith of Jane Hamsher's "Firedoglake", Jeralyn Merritt ("TalkLeft"), and Marcy Wheeler ("The Next Hurrah") on their experiences of "live-blogging" the Libby trial, moderated by Merritt; the panel also included Sheldon L. Snook, Chief of Staff to the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, who was "the court official in charge of news media at the Libby trial."Jeralyn Merritt, [http://www.talkleft.com/story/2007/7/17/22053/1145 "Announcing the YKos Panel on Live-Blogging the Scooter Libby Trial"] , "TalkLeft" (accredited press blog), 17 July, 2007, accessed 17 July, 2007.] [http://www.yearlykosconvention.org/node/166 "Live Blogging the Libby Trial"] , program listing, "YearlyKos" convention, August 2, 2007, accessed July 28, 2007.] Among the topics were: "the credentialing process, the challenges of blogging in real time, the back-end work required and costs incurred in hosting a live trial blog, what bloggers brought to the mix, how we interacted with and were treated by the MSM [Mainstream Media] and how varied our individual perspectives were, allowing us to provide political commentary as well as legal, both from a prosecution and defense point of view."

ee also

*CIA leak grand jury investigation
*Lewis Libby
*Lewis Libby clemency controversy
*Murray Waas
*Plame affair
*Plame affair criminal investigation
*Plame affair timeline
*"Plame v. Cheney"
*United States Intelligence Community
*Niger uranium forgeries


Additional references

*Leonnig, Carol, and Amy Goldstein. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/05/AR2007060500150.html?hpid=topnews "Libby Given 2 1/2-Year Prison Term:] Former White House Aide 'Got Off Course,' Judge Says". "The Washington Post", 5 June, 2007. Accessed 17 July, 2007.
*Merritt, Jeralyn, moderator. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2007/03/06/DI2007030600559.html "Verdict in the Libby Trial"] . Transcript. "The Washington Post" ("Live Online" discussion) 6 March, 2007, 2:00–3:00 p.m. ET. Accessed 6 March, 2007. (Duration: one hour.) (N.B.: "Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.")
*Parry, Robert. [http://baltimorechronicle.com/2007/021907Parry-too.shtml "Shame on the Washington Post, Again"] . "The Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel" 19 February, 2007. Accessed 13 March, 2007. (Reply to Toensing.)
* [http://connecticutblog.blogspot.com/2007/03/scooter-libby-video-thread.html "Scooter Libby Video Thread"] . Featured video clips of "Collins Opening Remarks". Press interview with juror Denis Collins uploaded to YouTube by "ctblogger" at "Connecticut Blog". Aired originally on MSNBC 6 March, 2007, 12:55 p.m., ET. Accessed 6 March, 2007.
*Toensing, Victoria. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/16/AR2007021601705.html "Trial in Error: If You're Going to Charge Scooter, Then What About These Guys?"] "The Washington Post" 18 February, 2007, Opinion: Outlook: B1. Accessed 13 March, 2007. (See reply by Parry.)
*Waas, Murray, ed., with Jeff Lomonaco. "The United States v. I. Lewis Libby". New York: Union Square Press (imprint of Sterling Publishing), 2007. ISBN 1402752598 (10). ISBN 978-1402752599 (13). ("Edited & with reporting by Murray Waas" and with research assistance by Jeff Lomonaco.)

External links

*" [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/linkset/2005/09/29/LI2005092901976.html Background on the Plame Investigation] " at "The Washington Post". Accessed July 20, 2007.
*" [http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2005/cia.leak/index.html CNN Special Reports: CIA Leak Investigation] " compiled by "CNN Newsroom"; incl. interactive timeline in "Case History". Updated periodically. Accessed July 20, 2007. (Includes events relating to Lewis Libby's federal trial.)
* [http://wid.ap.org/documents/libbytrial/index.html "Documents From The Trial of I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby"] compiled by the Associated Press.
* [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7262723 "Legal Affairs: Lewis Libby's Complete Grand Jury Testimony"] . Full audio clip and transcript provided by National Public Radio on "npr.org", February 7, 2007. Accessed July 20, 2007. (8 hours.)
* [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7339581 "The Lewis Libby Case"] . Archive of articles concerning I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby broadcast on National Public Radio. Updated periodically. Accessed July 20, 2007.
* [http://www.scooterlibby.com/news/ Libby Legal Defense Trust: In the news] . Site of news, statements, and legal filings which is paid for by supporters of Scooter Libby. (Updated periodically.)
* [http://dir.salon.com/topics/scooter_libby/index.html "Scooter Libby" Index] at "Salon.com".
*" [http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/l/i_lewis_libby_jr/index.html Times Topics: I. Lewis Libby Jr.] " (Index of news articles pertaining to Libby published in "The New York Times"; incorporates: "The Counts", a summary of the Libby trial verdict; [http://www.nytimes.com/ref/washington/LIBBYDIARY.html "Diary of the Leak Trial"] , a graphical timeline; and multimedia links. Access to some archived articles requires TimesSelect subscription.) Accessed July 20, 2007.
* [http://www.dcd.uscourts.gov/USA-v-Libby_Rules-of-Order.pdf "United States of America, v. I. Lewis Libby, Defendant": "Order"] . Criminal No. 05-394 (RBW). United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Filed January 10, 2007. Accessed February 10, 2007. ("Rules of Order" for the trial conduct of the case.)
* [http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/iln/osc/ United States Department of Justice: Office of Special Counsel] Trial Exhibits in United States of America v. I. Lewis Libby. March 6, 2007. Accessed April 26, 2007. (Public release of linked transcripts, exhibits, and orders.)
*" [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/photo/gallery/070306/GAL-07Mar06-67257/index.html United States v. I. Lewis Libby] ". Photo gallery with news captions at "The Washington Post". Accessed July 20, 2007.

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