Tuesday :: Jan 23, 2007

Cheney: Scooter Took Bullet For Rove On Plame

by Steve

Reuters photo

"They're trying to set me up. They want me to be the sacrificial lamb. I will not be sacrificed so Karl Rove can be protected."
--Scooter's defense attorney Ted Wells on what Scooter thinks is really going on

Get the popcorn; this case might be pretty fun after all. While Patrick Fitzgerald tries to keep the jury focused on what Scooter Libby lied about to the FBI and grand jury, Scooter's defense is that he is a fall guy and scapegoat for Karl Rove and others on the president's staff.

Defense lawyers in the I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby trial say Cheney's former chief of staff was merely a scapegoat for Karl Rove's role in revealing the identity of a former CIA agent.
But Wells told the jury that Libby did nothing wrong and was instead set up as a scapegoat by forces in the White House.
"It's ironic that President Bush is giving the State of the Union Address tonight almost four years to the day," Wells said in his opening statement.
It was other administration officials, not Libby, that were talking about Plame and her employment at the CIA.
One note from Cheney that the defense attorney presented read, "Not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the guy that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others."
In referencing the Novak column, Wells told the jury that Libby was not a source for Novak who first made Plame's name public; instead, he said, it was Rove.
Wells told the jury that the view in the White House was to "protect Karl Rove; sacrifice Scooter Libby."
"Karl Rove was viewed as a political genius and he had to be protected." Wells told the jury. "He's the lifeblood of the Republican party. … Scooter Libby didn't push any reporter to write stories."

I'll defer to you attorneys out there about the legal strategy behind this defense as a way to misdirect the jury away from what Scooter actually said or did. But politically, at a time when trust in the president is at an all-time low, I think it expands the problems for the White House beyond a simple "he said, he said" issue, doesn't it?

And the most delicious thing about this is that the Scooter defense is simply a misdirection away from what Fitzgerald is laying out: Cheney orchestrated the smear campaign.

Hat tip to ThinkProgress

Steve :: 12:43 PM :: Comments (15) :: Digg It!