Feb 21 2007

Closing Arguments: Prosecution

Published by at 12:49 am under All General Discussions,Plame Game

I am going to try and separate my analysis of the closing arguments into two or three posts, each covering the prosecution and defense arguments as relayed (translated?) via the leftwing site Firedig Lake, which has been doing everyone a great service in their dogged (no pun intended) coverage of the Libby trial. I will do each side without ‘peaking’ ahead’ so I am clear how I went into this and why I may have changed my views based on events. But first some early predictions.

I think the jury will take 1-2 days to send Libby home not guilty

I think Fitzgerald will not prove a lie, but will only be able to show Libby as as consistent in his recollections as the Prosecutor’s own witnesses. Also, any overboard theatrics will hurt Fitz long before Team Libby, because jurors will not want to be associated with a joke prosecution, but they can see their way to forgive even in the face of a joke defense.

OK, these may (and probably will) changed as a result of going through the arguments. So let’s have at with the Prosecution’s first segment of closing arguments:


On behalf of defense, Wells elected to give opening. He painted different picture, told you about WH conspiracy to scapegoat Libby. Effort to make LIbby into sacrificial lamb so that Karl Rove would go free. You’ve heard witnesses testify, you’ve heard witness after witness, you’ve heard them testify about one or another conversation with Libby about Valerie Wilson during the time period that Libby claimed he had no memory of Wilson’s wife. You heard Russert testify, take an oath and say he never spoke to Libby about Wilson’s wife. In direct contrast to what Libby claimed. Now did you hear any evidence about a conspiracy to scapegoat Libby? If you draw a blank, it’s not because of a problem with your evidence. I bring that to your attention to remind you that evidence is what happened on witness stand and introduced as evidence. Unfulfilled promises from counsel do no constitute evidence.

We shall see, but this is a perfect point to bring up during the defense’s closing arguments to point out a few things. First, Libby is innocent until proven by the prosecution guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense does not have to prove innocence, they simply need to present plausible optional explanations. And while team Libby began with the WH blame game, they can also address this by saying they had an impression the government’s case was much stronger than it turned out to be. That they felt the government’s witnesses would be firm and unwaivering, and that is why the suspected an attempt to shift blame. Team Libby (probably in all honesty) can say the case presented by the prosecution simpy showed a bunch of people with differing recollections who all had to modify those recollections as information became aware to them. This is a good point to show that there are now many numerous reasonable explanations – all innocent – regarding how Libby’s testimony was inaccurate. It could be like Judith Miller’s recollections, totally forgetting meetings until her notes showed up and reminded her. Or Armitage’s recollections, which did not surface until Bob Woodward came forward to remind him of his much earlier ‘leak’ to the press. Or it could be like Agent Bond’s recollections, which were simply wrong with her own notes. What they were not were like Ari Fleischer’s response, or Russert’s response, which was knee jerk lawyering up and fighting any minimal cooperation without conditions. So we can put Libby’s behavior in context with the prosecution’s witnesses’ behaviors. I would take this head on.

There will be things that you know from common sense. Use your common sense. When you weigh credibility, don’t look in isolation, look together, how their testimony fits together, and how it first with documentary evidence.

Kill this right off. There is no speculation allowed beyond what the evidence shows. No ability to ‘fill the gaps’ with common sense (aka personal bias).

When Grossman told this to Libby, it was the fourth time, in two days, that Libby had been told about Wilson’s wife. The fourth time. I’m going to go through the first three, but first of all, want to talk about why you can rely on Grossman’s testimony. #3 at State, a colleague of Libby, no confusion about this, I suggest there is no reason in the world he’d have to be biased against Libby.

Everyone knows Grossman and Wilson knew each other, and it is possible Wilson called Grossman when he was at state. Will defense open up this canyon of doubtful objectivity? Seems Prosecution is very, very worried about this to come out so early and try and do some damage control.

Grenier briefs Harlow, says they can confirm publicly, says not a problem. Libby says “great, have Harlow talk to my press aide.” Harlow believes woman name of Cathie, it’s Cathie Martin.

This comes after a long fantasizing about Libby trying to track down the nuisance Wilson and what was the real story. When he hears the truth is some washed up State Department hack who was sent by his wife, Libby dumps the matter OFF HIS PLATE! He doesn’t follow up, he doesn’t get obsessed – he dumps the matter on his press aid. Proof, from the prosecution itself, that Libby delved into the matter, learned it was mostly hype and left it to the press people to straighten out. Folks would be surprised to know there are whiners and complainers and agenda driven mavericks all through the government. The idea someone is taking political pot shots at the WH is nothing new or nothing out of the ordinary. Just look at all the real damaging leaks hitting this administration. Wilson was a lying weasel and when Libby got to the heart of it he dumped it on Martin, a newby, to work.

It’s clear from this note that Libby told by VP to get OVP and Defense and State, VP wants CIA to say that. And that, ladies and gentleman, explains why Grenier got pulled out of meeting with Tenet, that’s why Libby had called Grenier, when he had never call him before, this was matter of urgency.

Actually, all that is clear is Libby had one answer and wanted a quick confirmation (if the timeline is being portrayed accurately). Wanting a quick response is not the same as obsessing. Good managers move actions on and off their lists and keep track of progress. Prosecution is fantasizing again. Prosecution goes on and on about all these discussions, but they are always in the context of the bigger issue: forged evidence. That is what is lost here. Wilson comes up as a sidebar to his now disproven claims. No need to rehash the entire reiteration of the case, all Team Libby needs to note is Wilson was a side bar to an important story, one of many important topics and the least important of them all. No need to recollect these marginal details to address discussions with Novak (oh yeah, the original investigation!)

WHY did Libby choose to share this info with PS [Press Sec Ari Fleiscer] on that date. If you think it was because conversation lagged and he had run out ofthings to say, or did he tell him that bc it was Ari’s job to talk to the press, he could spread around without it ever coming back to him. I suggest it’s the latter, gave it to him deliberately hoping Ari would talk to reporters.

Well, prosecution doesn’t get to ‘suggest’, they need to prove. And defense is right to point out NO EVIDENCE of such intentions was ever presented. Speculation without any support. Knock that one down.

The “Matter” here is disclosing the NIE to support the claim Iraq was a potential threat. The NIE had nothing to do with Plame. If Libby’s lawyers are any good they will shoot this one down without any problem. The Wilson-Plame angle is a sidebar to the important focus of the meeting – correcting Wilson lies via the declassified NIE! Boy, did Fitz’s team fall for Fitzmas or what? They truly are a bunch of media driven robots. I won’t go through the details, but clearly the prosecution is REALLY worried Russert’s credibility is shot. Well, the view of the people of journalists (especially highly paid ones) is classically very, very low. It is like saying you can trust your money with a used car salesman to claim reporters are alwas accurate and truthful (i.e., they are not in it for the money). Fitzgerald set himself up for this mess.

second half of the prosecution’s closing arguments. I have to admit the prosecutor had some great points about Libby’s recollections. Too bad they screwed up with all this nonsense. And then they went here:

Want to talk for a moment about Mr Novak. Libby confused Russert with Novak. [Puts up the faces of Russerr and the MOST UNFLATTERING picture of Novak I’ve ever seen.] It wouldn’t be easy to confuse these two. [switches the two pictures, laughs in the media room]

When Libby was asked about Novak, he said he hadn’t talked to Novak for a year and a half. But now he says he might have confused it. If you thought an investigation was all about who linked to Novak. And you thought you might have learned it from Novak. Don’t you think you would have remembered?

Well, not if you don’t recall talking to the man! This was really a bad move on the prosecutor’s side, but it was probably necessary for them to try and hit this one head on. I had no idea Libby forgot he talked to Novak, and yet Novak is his defense witness clearing him completely of talking about Plame. One would think if Libby had remembered he would have called Novak like he called Russert to check his story. Clearly Libby did mix the two gentlemen up. Right there most people would be remembering all the times they confused two people like that. That is the real problem here for Fitz, every one of those jurors has done this kind of thing, as we all have. They can relate to confusing people with events, it happens all the time. And someone needs to train prosecutors to NEVER use the word ‘suggest’:

Now let’s go to forgetting about VP telling you this. I want to suggest it’s simply not credible to believe. It’s ludicrous.

Another softball. Team Libby should hit these out of the park. Where was the UNDENIABLE proof? There was none – all speculation and weaving of fantasies by pretend mind readers in Fitz’s office. Good close, but no proof of any lies. Not a single shred of hard evidence. Just one of a million theories which could explain the events. Need more than that Fitz.

One response so far

One Response to “Closing Arguments: Prosecution”

  1. Soothsayer says:

    Where was the UNDENIABLE proof?

    How about:

    1. Libby’s statements – repreatedly – both under oath and not – that he first learned of Plame’s indentity from Russert.

    2. Libby’s own hand-writen notes that he first learned from Cheney.

    3. Uncontradicted testimony from US government employees that THEY told Libby – before he talked to Russert – that Plame was CIA.

    That’s undeniable proof that Libby knew Plame’s identity before he talked to Russert.

    In order to acquit, the jury must believe that Libby, a graduate of Eaglebrook School and Andover, Yale University and Columbia Law School, has such a bad memeory that he forgot learning on at least 6 and maybe 8 prior occasions that Plame was CIA. If the jury believes that, Scooter walks.

    If, however, they do not believe that Scooter’s dog ate his memory, then he’s found guilty.