I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby has been found guilty in 4 of 5 counts of perjury, lying and obstruction into an FBI investigation into the leak of the identity of a CIA operative. He was acquitted on just one count of lying to the FBI.
The jury deliberated for ten days and delivered their verdict to the court, Tuesday, March 06, at noon, Eastern Standard Time.
Scooter Libby is the former chief of staff to Vice President, Dick Cheney. Libby had disclosed the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame, who is the wife of Joseph Wilson, a former ambassador. Wilson was a public critic of the Iraq war. Libby learned about Plume in confidential conversations with Vice President Cheney and other officials, and then proceeded to relay the information on to the press.
Scooter Libby is the sole defendant in the case. His attorneys argued that poor memory of his conversations was to blame, that he had recalled his conversations to the best of his ability and gave the FBI and the Federal Grand Jury the information the best he could remember. Libby is represented in part by attorney Theodore B. Wells.
Libby’s defense team stated that Libby first learned of Valerie Plame from Chaney, and then forgot about her. Later, he heard of her again from Tim Russert, an ABC news man. It was argued that anything he told to reporters was not official, confidential, government information, but rather just rumors or chatter.
Special prosecutor in the case, Patrick Fitzgerald, said that statement was a lie. Libby’s defense countered that it would be unfair to convict Libby, as the stories of witnesses changed and varied and they too, had memory problems.
The trial has been in progress for five weeks, and the jury has heard from nineteen witnesses.
Scooter Libby could be sentenced to up to thirty years in prison, although he will likely receive far less, due to federal guidelines.
The judge in the case, U.S. District Judge, Reggie B. Walton, has ordered a pre sentencing report to be delivered by May 15th, a report that aids judges in sentencing.
As the verdict was read, Libby was void of emotion. He showed no change of expression as the jury read their verdict and left the courtroom.
Theodore B. Wells, Libby’s defense attorney, says that by April 13th, he’ll ask for a new trial. Such a request is common place in situations like this one with criminal convictions.
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