When it says guilty guilty guilty on the label label label
It's a sad day here for The WitList. Not only is Lewis “Scooter” Libby not going to testify at his own trial, neither is his former boss. We've been denied the spectacle of Dick Cheney on the witness stand, muttering like Captain Queeg from the Caine Mutiny:
Ah, but the WMDs, that's where I had them. They laughed at me and made jokes, but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt, with geometric logic, that a duplicate key to the plutonium storage facility did exist, and I've had produced that key if they hadn't moved the nukes to Syria...
A great opportunity for the world to see just how batshit crazy the man is, now lost forever.
But there was no way Libby's defense would allow that. This trial isn't about Libby's innocence, assuming those two words should be allowed to mingle so closely inside the same sentence. Libby's “selective amnesia” defense is so lame it seems deliberate. (To summarize: He was so wrapped up in affairs of state that he forgot about the high-level meetings with Cheney (complete with notes), the phone calls with Matt Cooper, the three (3) meetings he had with Mistress Judy of the Turning Aspens, and so on.)
It's the same tactic Libby is essentially on trial for: throwing sand in the umpire's eyes, to use Fitzgerald's colorful description. (He's clearly a long-suffering Cubs fan). Keeping the prosecutor away from the vice president, the architect of the nightmare in Iraq. Keeping the press and public away from the real story: not the outing of a CIA agent, but the manufacturing of a war and Cheney's bloodless coup d'etat.
Libby's job is to fall on his sword. He's the Ollie North of this debacle, only without Fawn Hall to sex him up. And unlike North, he's going willingly but not quickly. That's the key.
Libby could have simply plead guilty and avoided a public trial. Wasn't gonna happen. It's not merely that no one in the Bush Administration will ever admit to doing anything wrong – at this moment I'm sure someone at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is figuring out a way to blame Nancy Pelosi and/or Iran for outing Valerie Plame. It's that the process would have been over much too quickly, possibly even before the 2004 elections. Libby would have had to do actual time, which might have swayed his loyalties. At this point, he probably won't.
Here's how it plays out. Libby is found guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice. Of course, it's possible he'll get off (if they can fix an election, they can fix a jury), but I don't see that happening. His attorney Ted Wells appeals, seeks a mistrial or a retrial, citing some procedural issue or legal technicality, because that's what $700 an hour lawyers do. So we're looking at a year's worth of motions and counter motions. Add another six months before Libby is even sentenced, and a few more before he's scheduled to show up at a Club Fed minimum security prison.
Then, just a few weeks before Libby is fitted for an orange jumpsuit, he gets a presidential pardon, along with a motley crew of GOP felons. I expect the Bush pardonfest will make Clinton's look like Judgment at Nuremberg, with Libby's name at the top of the list.
Libby goes on to collect his reward for playing the loyal soldier: A nice cushy job with the American Enterprise Institute, a partnership position with Ken Starr's law firm, or a sweet lobbying gig on K Street.
The only person to do time for this crime? Judy Miller.
We wuz robbed. Yet again.