Libby was, instead, convicted "for his recollection of what a reporter told him -- a part of a phone call with reporter, Tim Russert, in which the prosecution maintained Plame was never mentioned."
The Prosecution first claimed that Libby lied about his Russert conversation to conceal his real source -- the Vice President -- for the information about Plame. This was what the Prosecutor, in his famous phrase, called "the cloud over the Vice President." But the uncontested evidence at trial -- evidence that even the Prosecution admitted to be true -- demolished this claim. Libby had told the investigators about his conversation with the Vice President from the very first time that he testified. In addition, uncontested evidence at trial showed that just after he spoke to Russert, Libby had a separate conversation in which he learned that the media was talking about Plame's CIA employment. So Libby had no need to make up anything about Russert.Feldman recognizes that Libby and Russert did have differing versions of their conversation when asked about it several months later. But the FBI recorded Russert telling them that he could have told Libby. At trial, Russert testified that he had not said that to the FBI! As a result, Feldman says, "there was plenty of evidence [that] either Russert or Libby could be innocently wrong in their recollections months later of this brief call." She also notes:
But Libby also argued persuasively that he could be innocently wrong. Uncontested evidence at trial showed that Libby had several conversations with other reporters who knew about Plame and were asking White House officials about her at the time. Evidence at trial showed that Libby, months after the fact, could have innocently confused one of these conversations with his conversation with Russert.Thus, it was notable that Libby "tried to introduce expert evidence about the frequency and causes of memory errors, a topic on which the scientific community has made great progress in recent years." Instead, he "was not allowed to call a single memory expert to testify in his defense." See the entire editorial here.