Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Circling the Drain - Perjury and Obstruction of Justice

It's looking more and more likely that Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald may indict Scooter Libby on perjury and obstruction of justice charges. The New York Times is reporting that previously undiscovered notes taken by Scooter Libby himself prove beyond doubt that he learned the identity of Ambassador Joe Wilson's wife from Dick Cheney. However, in sworn testimony given before the Special Prosecutor, it looks like Libby perjured himself by claiming he first learned her identity from journalists, and obstructed justice when he declined to name Dick Cheney as his source.

"It would not be illegal for either Mr. Cheney or Mr. Libby, both of whom are presumably cleared to know the government's deepest secrets, to discuss a C.I.A. officer or her link to a critic of the administration. But any effort by Mr. Libby to steer investigators away from his conversation with Mr. Cheney could be considered by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special counsel in the case, to be an illegal effort to impede the inquiry."


"The notes help explain the legal difficulties facing Mr. Libby. Lawyers in the case said Mr. Libby testified to the grand jury that he had first heard from journalists that Ms. Wilson may have had a role in dispatching her husband on a C.I.A.-sponsored mission to Africa in 2002 in search of evidence that Iraq had acquired nuclear material there for its weapons program.

But the notes, now in Mr. Fitzgerald's possession, also indicate that Mr. Libby first heard about Ms. Wilson - who is also known by her maiden name, Valerie Plame - from Mr. Cheney. That apparent discrepancy in his testimony suggests why prosecutors are weighing false statement charges against him in what they interpret as an effort by Mr. Libby to protect Mr. Cheney from scrutiny, the lawyers said."
Mr. Fitzgerald is expected to announce whether he will indict either Libby or Karl Rove (or both) on Friday when the term of the grand jury expires. You'd think Fitzgerald would announce his decision a few days early, to give cartoonists a chance to get something in before press deadlines Friday.


Anonymous said...

Interesting how all the people who thought it was necessary to impeach Bill Clinton because of perjury are now saying perjury's just a "technicality," and saying it won't mean anything if Rove and Libby (not to mention DeLay) are prosecuted for it.

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