Carol Platt Liebau: Libby Verdict: A Miscarriage of Justice

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Libby Verdict: A Miscarriage of Justice

ust now on Fox News, Patrick Fitzgerald has announced that no more prosecutions will be forthcoming. It strikes me that Lewis Libby has been caught in the cross-hairs of two incredibly unfortunate phenomena: A politicized trial, coupled with the kind of "mental intent" case that depends on inherently unverifiable determinations of credibility. The jury chose to believe Tim Russert and Matt Cooper over Lewis Libby when the evidence conflicted -- a determination that may have been made in absolute good faith, but is also somewhat foreseeable in a city as heavily Democratic as the District of Columbia. What’s likewise unfortunate is that such jury determinations about credibility are almost never overturned on appeal. The whole thing strikes me as one more object lesson in the scary miscarriages of justice that can occur in a legal system when there are prosecutors who are overzealous rather than judicious.

Cross posted at IWF Inkwell at 9:45 a.m. Pacific.

9 Comments:

Blogger One Salient Oversight said...

This in from Daily Kos

So let me get this straight -- according to conservatives, lying about a (sex act) was an impeachable offense, but lying about outing a CIA agent focused on the Iranian nuclear program is much ado about nothing? Okay, got it.

2:44 PM  
Blogger Carol Platt Liebau said...

As the fair-minded will recall, there has been no prosecution about the "outing of a CIA agent" because, in fact, no unlawful "outing" occurred. Valerie Plame, by all accounts, had hardly been undercover. Second, the only proven liar in this case -- the only one whose version of the truth is definitely and verifiably false -- is Joe Wilson, whose ridiculous and self-serving claims were debunked by the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee.

Lying under oath is wrong no matter who did it. But the difference is that the facts contradicted Bill Clinton; here, Tim Russert and Matt Cooper's (possibly self-serving) recollections contradicted Libby's, and the jury chose to believe them.

3:20 PM  
Blogger One Salient Oversight said...

the jury chose to believe them.

Probably because it was the right and only honourable thing to do. We may disagree with them, but juries are part of our democracy.

The jury was made up of a multitude of different people, including those who supported war in Iraq and those who did not. One worked for the Clinton administration (but was probably not high up) and another was a Washington Post reporter. One formally served in the Air Force. Link

We can now say that Libby was guilty. The "Jury is NOT still out"

5:27 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

Juries can be wrong. They were here. "Right and only honorable thing to do?" Perhaps they sincerely thought so, but that doesn't make it so. We can now say that Libby was "found" guilty, which is all one can ever do after such a verdict is given. What's sad here, is that he was found guilty of lying about something that wasn't a crime. And the fact that he consciously lied, as opposed to simply being innacurate about a minor conversation occurring a significant time before
is a significant distinction for which a presidential pardon is perfectly appropriate should his appeals face the same kind of insanity.

5:57 PM  
Blogger One Salient Oversight said...

Let's look at the broader picture.

What the trial was really about was how the Bush administration deliberately silenced anyone who dared to disagree with their stated belief that Iraq had WMDs.

Wilson wrote his Times piece in an effort to set the record straight - that Iraq was not sourcing nuclear material from Niger because Wilson himself had done the work there researching it.

Cheney responded to this by getting Libby to reveal the name of Valerie Wilson to members of the press, thus revealing her to be a CIA agent and breaking the law.

In the investigative process, Libby lied under oath.

And there were no nuclear weapons, in either Niger or Iraq. Wilson was right all along.

When will American Conservatives finally realize that the Bush Administration manufactured a war under the guise of conservatism? Mainstream Americans are now increasingly of this view.

8:46 PM  
Blogger One Salient Oversight said...

And although we still do not know the answer to the original mystery, the case provided a look at the methodical way that Mr. Cheney, Mr. Libby, Karl Rove and others in the Bush inner circle set out to discredit Ms. Wilson’s husband, Joseph Wilson IV. Mr. Wilson, a career diplomat, was sent by the State Department in 2002 to check out a British intelligence report that Iraq had tried to buy uranium from the government of Niger for a secret nuclear weapons program. In his 2003 State of the Union address, Mr. Bush said: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

In July 2003, Mr. Wilson wrote in an Op-Ed article in The Times that what he had found did not support that claim. The specter of a nuclear-armed Iraq was central to Mr. Bush’s case for rushing to war. So, the trial testimony showed, Mr. Cheney orchestrated an assault on Mr. Wilson’s credibility with the help of Mr. Libby and others. They whispered to journalists that Mr. Wilson’s wife worked at the C.I.A. and that nepotism was the reason he had been chosen for the trip.

That is what we know from the Libby trial, and it is some of the clearest evidence yet that this administration did not get duped by faulty intelligence; at the very least, it cherry-picked and hyped intelligence to justify the war. What Mr. Wilson found, and subsequent investigations confirmed, was that there was one trip in 1999 — not “recently,” but four years before Mr. Bush’s statement — by an Iraqi official to Niger and that during that trip, uranium was never discussed.


New York Times

And remember, the NYT spent a great deal of time in 2002 and 2003 allowing its news reporting to be directed by the White House.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Earth to Carol said...

"Even though I'm a tranquil guy now at this stage of my life, I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious, of traitors." - George H.W. Bush, April 16, 1999, Dedication Speech, George Bush Center for Intelligence

5:55 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Salient,

I am not intimately familiar with the details of the Libby case. But from what I have heard your points in your "broader picture" post are way off the mark.

First, this trial was NOT about the administration in any way. This trial was about whether or not Libby lied to the Grand Jury.

Second, as Carol has already noted, Wilson's article was NOT about "setting the record straight". The claims he made have been proven false by two separate government investigations involving two separate countries. And if I'm not mistaken, Wilson's trip actually gathered information that supported the Bush Administration's claims.

Third, THERE WAS NO CRIME COMMITTED when Valerie Plame's identity was revealed. The reason this trial was about Libby and NOT about the Administration was because it was determined early in the investigation that there was no crime committed. Yet the investigation continued anyway ...

Fourth, Wilson WAS NOT RIGHT ALL ALONG. See above. He has been proven to be not only a liar, but to have lied specifically in this case.

I will give you a pass on the notion that the Bush Administration went to war in Iraq because of conservative principles. I proudly join myself to conservative principles like protecting the lives and interests of American citizens. I'm happy to be associated with the conservative principle of freeing millions of innocent people from the brutal hands of a murderous tyrant. I'll gladly be associated with the ideal of fighting Islamic Fascism throughout the world.

Aren't those ideals worth fighting for? Or, as today's liberal doctrine seems to indicate, should we allow millions of people to be brutally oppressed at the hands of a murderous ideology whose stated goal is world domination and suppression of freedom?

8:11 AM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

Well said, Greg. You've saved me a lot of typing.

11:27 PM  

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