Thursday, November 18, 2010

Libby Unplugged

Today's Washington Times has an interview with Scooter Libby, whose prison sentence was commuted by President Bush. The Times notes that Libby did "pay a quarter-million-dollar fine, served 400 hours of community service and had his law license taken away" because, essentially, there was a "dispute about whether his memory or that of TV journalist Tim Russert was correct." In addition, the conversation was "months-past" and had "nothing" to do with the supposed leak of Valarie Wilson's name.

The Times says that, throughout the interview, Libby "explicitly and repeatedly asserted his innocence" and said that he still thinks that it was actually Russert who mentioned Plame's name to him.  According to Libby, "America's leading expert on the science of memory" reviewed his case and concluded that  he "could not render a fair decision based on the evidence before the jury."

But U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton - who was sensitive to media reporting and public perceptions of the trial and openly critical of President Bush's commutation of sentence - would not allow the admission of introduce scientific testimony about memory. In addition, Walton did not allow Libby access to his own files in order to reconstruct the sequence of events. "It was an impossible position," says Libby, who was also denied bail by Walton.

Says the Times:
The record shows that Scooter Libby did not leak Mrs. Wilson's name to the press, nor did he direct others to do so. The record shows he openly acknowledged that Mr. Cheney had told him Mrs. Wilson's status (although not her name) - so he wasn't, as theorized, trying to cover up for his boss. The record also shows, curiously enough, that when Russert was first interviewed by the FBI, even he said it was possible that Mr. Libby's description of events could have been correct. The FBI report reads: "Mr. Russert acknowledged that he speaks to many people on a daily basis and it is difficult to remember some specific conversations, particularly one which occurred several months ago."
The Times piece concludes by suggesting that President Obama should "serve up" a pardon to Mr. Libby. Readers may recall that prosecutors already knew exactly who originally leaked Valerie Plame's name (Richard Armitage) before they pursued Mr. Libby. And, if any law was actually violated by anyone, no one was every charged, much less convicted for the supposed crime. See full article here.

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