Tuesday, January 23, 2007

And Your Point Would Be…?

No surprise here:

The chief defense lawyer for I. Lewis Libby Jr. told a jury today that his client was innocent of perjury and obstruction of justice charges and that White House officials had sought to make him a scapegoat in the investigation of the leak of a C.I.A. operative’s name to protect Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff.

In his opening statement, Theodore V. Wells Jr., said that the unnamed White House officials wanted to protect Mr. Rove because they believed his survival as President Bush’s political adviser was crucial to saving the Republican Party.


Mr. Libby is charged with five felony counts for lying to the grand jury on two occasions and also to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who were investigating the leak of Ms. Plame’s name to Mr. Novak.

Mr. Wells, Mr. Libby’s chief defense lawyer, said that the charges against Mr. Libby amount to “a weak, paper-thin circumstantial case about ‘he said-she said’.”

Mr. Wells said that Mr. Libby complained to Mr. Cheney that he was being made to be the fall guy and the vice president wrote a note that read:

“Not going to protect one staffer + sacrifice the guy who was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others.”

He explained that Mr. Cheney’s note referred to the fact that the C.I.A. had allowed the White House to use inaccurate information in Mr. Bush’s state of the union speech about Iraq’s efforts to obtain uranium in Africa.

Sure, it’s a great “hey, look at the kitty!” moment for the cable news networks (will Cheney resign?), but what I don’t get is what does fingering Rove and Cheney have to do with defending Libby against charges that he lied to federal investigators?

Update: Josh Marshall at TPM suggests that this is Libby’s payback to the White House for not pardoning him and throwing him under the bus. Having the defense pin the blame on Rove and Cheney makes Libby look like the fall guy. Josh thinks “[p]erhaps they’re angling for some sort of politically-tinged jury nullification.”

Off-topic Trivia: According to Blogger, this is my 5,000th post. Wow.