Saturday, January 13, 2007

Libby's trial starts next week

Murray Waas has a good article in the National Journal about the up-coming Scooter Libby trial called CIA Leak Probe: Inside The Grand Jury. He includes transcripts of Grand Jury testimony and other fascinating tid-bits. It will be interesting to see how Cheney's involvement will be treated during the proceedings.

On January 16, Libby will go on trial in the federal courthouse in Washington D.C. on five counts of lying to federal investigators, perjury, and obstruction of justice. He is accused of attempting to conceal his role, and possibly that of others, in leaking to the media that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was a CIA officer, and that she might have played a role in sending her husband on a CIA-sponsored mission to Niger in 2002 to determine whether Saddam Hussein had attempted to procure uranium from Niger to build a nuclear weapon.

In attempting to determine Libby's motives for allegedly lying to the FBI and a federal grand jury about his leaking of Plame's CIA identity to journalists, federal investigators theorized from the very earliest stages of the case that Libby may have been trying to hide Cheney's own role in encouraging Libby to discredit Wilson, according to attorneys involved in the case.

Cheney is scheduled to be a defense witness in the Libby trial. Regarding this, a spokesperson for the Vice President says: "We've cooperated fully in this matter and will continue to do so in fairness to the parties involved."

Both Cheney and Libby have repeatedly denied -- both publicly and to federal investigators -- that Cheney ever encouraged Libby specifically to leak information to the press about Plame. But since the early days of the leak probe in fall 2003, even before it was taken over by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, investigators have maintained that Libby devised an elaborate cover story even though he must have known that contemporaneous records and the testimony of others was very likely to show that he was lying. Other than the motive to protect himself, the only other driving force behind Libby's actions, federal investigators have theorized, was to protect Cheney or other superiors, according to attorneys who have been involved in the CIA leak probe.

From Jane Hamsher at FDL we hear the good news that bloggers are getting recognized. What a treat this will be!

Thanks to help from lots of folks at the Huffington Post, Daily Kos, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and a whole bunch of people who contributed to our fundraising efforts (especially the extra-generous steelthing, to whom much thanks goes out from all of us), we're going to DC to cover the Libby Trial.

It's something of a first for bloggers to be credentialed for a high profile trial like this. In addition to the two passes granted to the Media Bloggers Association to distribute through its members, Justin Rood (of TPM), Marcy Wheeler (of Next Hurrah/DKos) and myself (on behalf of Huffington Post and FDL) have been granted passes. Most of the passes are for the overflow room where the trial will be broadcast by closed circuit and WiFi will be available for live blogging; my pass (which I'll be sharing with Christy and others) will be for Courtroom 16 itself. To say I am excited to see Patrick Fitzgerald sweating Dick Cheney on the witness stand would be something of an understatement.

Pachacutec will be on hand for jury selection, one of only a handful of journalists (and the only blogger) allowed in to the proceeding via Judge Walton's ruling that only two journalists be allowed in the courtroom at a time.

This seems to be the story of the weekend, as I've been contacted by MSNBC, CNN, Reuters and the NY Sun who all want to know why this is significant. Considering the title of the new WSJ article on the trial is "As Libby Goes to Trial, Case Appears Weakened; Prosectuor's Success Hinges on Focusing on Perjury Charge," I think "having us around to beat back stupid crap like that" is as good an answer as any.


Blogger liberal journal man said...

With the collapse of the media as an unwritten check on the government, can anyone tell me what better development for democracy there is than bloggers, representing the voice of the people, assuming traditional media roles?

10:53 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Amen, soul brother! I'm with you there. I despair when I think about what things would have been like without the blogosphere to acts as a bit of a counter-balance to the right-wing noise machine and the docile, media whores.

12:54 AM  
Anonymous Seeker said...

I have been made aware that Robert Cox of the Media Bloggers Association is planning to arrange a seat at the Libby trial for one of his bloggers - Lance Dutson of


Mr Dutson owns the (client-less) web company - "Maine Coast Design". He has ingratiated himself with Bob Cox by offering Mr Cox his services for free.

I have been following Lance Dutson's blog for some time, and have found that most or all of his accusations are brazenly untrue .... untruths about which he has repeatedly been made aware. He has even admitted to knowing that some are inaccurate, but these admissions eventually disappear... and off he goes again, on another rant.

Lance Dutson came out of the gate swinging, and has consistently and pugilistically ignored any invitation to reasonable discourse.

Mr Dutson's champion, Robert Cox, informs me that he has never even read Dutson's blog. I find this, if true, to be an act of extreme negligience.

If you did read Dutson's blog, you would see that the headlines are never corroborated by fact, but rather, link only to more of his own accusations, or even to documents which actually CONTRADICT these accusations.

Apparently, people only read the headlines, and nothing else. And they believe them.

But Dutson appears to get the most gratification out of making searingly vicious personal attacks on total strangers whom he somehow perceives as enemies. And this list grows longer every day.

If anyone disagrees with him in a comment, he turns his hatred on that commenter, with more vicious lies - about him/her...or he deletes the comment entirely.

His behavior is that of a web troll, and nothing more. I find it unfathomable that anyone would assign a seat at the Libby trial, and its resultant journalistic credibility, to someone without ever having checked his credentials.

Web trolls should be eliminated - not elevated.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Linda Hutchins said...

There is an interesting update to the Lance Dutson/Robert Cox story:

Thank you very much.


11:22 PM  

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