Friday :: Mar 10, 2006

Libby Will Receive Summaries Of PDB's For Plame Defense

by Steve

Judge Reggie Walton ruled today that the CIA must provide Scooter Libby's defense team topical summaries of the PDB's that the Vice President's office received from the CIA, which is being described by some as a partial victory for Libby. But did Walton cleverly box in the defense?

Libby's defense team had originally requested a year's worth of PDB's so that they could show that poor Scooter was so preoccupied with helping Shooter lie his way into a war that he could very easily forget that he had numerous conversations with different people on different days about Valerie Plame. Patrick Fitzgerald, on the other hand argued that the PDB's weren't necessarily germane to what Libby was indicted for, which was lying to the grand jury and the FBI about what he told members of the media about Plame. And by asking for the PDB's, Fitzgerald argued the defense was setting up an Oliver North "gray mail" defense, whereby they would base their case on a need to access classified national security information that an administration could refuse to release, thereby denying the accused a right to adequate self defense.

Walton split the baby today, ruling that Fitzgerald was overstating the likely objections from the White House and CIA, and Walton noted importantly that both have been forthcoming already in providing Fitzgerald what he needed to indict Libby, which undercuts any future refusal by the White House to release this material. Walton ruled that Libby's defense could be just as adequately served by summaries or indices of the subjects covered during the weeks in question, and that the actual PDBs were not necessary for Libby to prepare his faulty memory, "I'm too busy" defense. It is a clever response because it may leave Team Libby with nowhere else to go in pursuing this defense, as they cannot now say they need the actual documents, when they will still be receiving summaries of what Libby already read while in his job.

Steve :: 4:03 PM :: Comments (5) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!