Thursday, June 07, 2007

Gotcha

Reynolds Holding of Time Magazine describes how Patrick Fitzgerald fought to keep the issue of Plame's covert status out of the trial but fought to include it in deciding Libby's sentence. "He became a victim of one of the most troubling aspects of federal sentencing laws — allowing harsher sentences for a crime that was never actually proven."

The leak was the key issue for most Americans, the crux of an apparent White House campaign to discredit Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, who wrote a 2003 op-ed piece debunking WMD justifications for the Iraq war. But while outing a CIA agent can be illegal, neither Libby nor anyone else was actually charged with doing that to Plame. In fact, pre-trial maneuvering found the prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, insisting that this was not a case about a leak and fighting defense requests for documents about whether Plame was ever a covert agent, a status that could have made intentionally leaking her identity a crime.

But when the issue of sentencing came around, Fitzgerald changed his tune, arguing that the underlying (and uncharged) crime was so serious as to warrant a sentence twice as long as what the federal probation office recommended; notably, his brief included the revelation that the CIA did consider Plame's identity classified, at least for 18 months. And Tuesday, Walton apparently bought it, declaring before he announced the sentence that Libby could be considered an accessory to the underlying crime because, at least in part, his obstruction of justice made it all but impossible for the government to make the case for that crime.


"The Clinton Campaign today announced that Florida Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Congressman Alcee Hastings have been named national Campaign Co-Chairs." Ruth Marcus at the Washington Post recalls Hastings. "Hastings was stripped of his position as a federal judge -- impeached by the House in which he now serves and convicted by the Senate -- for conspiring to extort a $150,000 bribe in a case before him, repeatedly lying about it under oath and manufacturing evidence at his trial."

"I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all."(Ecclesiates 9:11)

There's a moral in there somewhere.

5 Comments:

Blogger George said...

Sandy Berger is laughing his
&*(___* off

6/07/2007 07:33:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Mercy sakes --there's that hidden system throwing off clues again (no, that wasn't a joke). Brrrr....

6/07/2007 08:11:00 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

This seems insane. Where was Libby's attorney during the trial? Determination of this fact (Plame's status as an agent) was critical for the defense.

6/08/2007 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger betsybounds said...

Rob,

It is insane. And the defense made undoubted errors. However, I think they did fight to get her status into the trial record. The problem is the defense doesn't make rulings on admitting evidence. It's also true that the CIA wouldn't clarify the question of her status during the trial. I'm no lawyer, and it was a difficult (as opposed to a complicated) case, but it had a lot of earmarks of railroading by the prosecution.

6/08/2007 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

"...it had a lot of earmarks of railroading by the prosecution."

I'll say. Kangaroo Kourt. Utter disgrace. Dysfunctional political class, blind as bats to what every citizen can plainly see (altho admittedly some of those citizens are tickled pink with the miscarriage of justice).

6/08/2007 01:29:00 PM  

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