Verdict in Libby Case at Noon (Update: Guilty on Four of Five Charges)

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Mar 06, 2007 11:36 AM

I've always readily admitted I'm not an expert on this case, but Tom Maguire and Co. are.

Check in with them throughout the day.

In case you're feeling bad about being confused about this case, don't. The jurors were, too, just hours before they came to a verdict.

The jury in Lewis ``Scooter'' Libby'sperjury trial in the CIA leak case asked the judge to clarify oneof the charges against the former top aide to Vice President DickCheney.

A jury note expressing its confusion was sent to the judgeyesterday during the ninth day of deliberations and was madepublic today. The note asked what exactly was being alleged in acharge that accuses Libby of lying to investigators about hisconversation with Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper in 2003about CIA official Valerie Plame.

Libby, 56, is charged with obstruction of justice, perjuryand making false statements to investigators probing whether Bushadministration officials deliberately leaked Plame's identity toretaliate against her husband, Iraq war critic Joseph Wilson.Libby was Cheney's chief of staff and national security adviser.

Libby is accused of falsely telling the Federal Bureau ofInvestigation that he told Cooper on July 12, 2003, that he hadheard from other reporters that Plame worked for the CentralIntelligence Agency, though he didn't know if it was true.

"Is the prosecution alleging that Mr. Libby did not makethe statement to Cooper?'' jurors asked in the note. "Or is the allegation that Libby did know Mrs. Wilson worked for the CIAwhen he spoke to the FBI'' in late 2003?

Sheesh, that can't make Libby feel great.  

Update: The latest on Fox News is that he's been found guilty on four of five counts.

Update: Judge Napolitano says the defense will likely go to thejudge and ask him to throw out charges, based on the confusion of thejury, but that the judge will likely not throw out the obstruction ofjustice charge. Appeals will be possible in the future. And, youthought this was gonna be over. Silly you. In the meantime, obstruction of justice alone carries 10 years.

Update: This account makes it clear the jury was unclear as to whether lying to a reporter was a crime with which one can be charged. Yikes. From the judge to jury:

“To be clear, Mr. Libby is charged in Count Three with making falsestatements to the FBI about what was said during his July 12, 2003 conversation with Mr. Cooper,” Walton wrote in response. “Mr. Libby isnot charged with making a false statement to Mr. Cooper.”

Of course, that confusion's on Count 3 (the one on which he was found not guilty), so it seems less likely charges could be dropped due to confusion.

Update: Reaction from the White House in 15 minutes or so.

Update: The WH Deputy Press Secretary is doing the statement on the case, not Tony Snow, which looks like an attempt to downplay. Interesting.

Update: Attorneys for Libby:

"We are very disappointed in the verdict of the jurors. This jury deli for approx 10 days. Despite out disappoin in the jury's verdict, we believe int he American justice system and we believe in the jury system,. We intend to file a motion for a new trial, and if that is denied, we'll appeal the conviction...We believe...that he is totally innocent, that he did not do anything wrong. We intend to keep fighting to establish his innocence."

Update: The Democrats are already giving press releases. The gist of Harry Reid's was that it's about time someone in the Bush administration was held accountable for manipulating on the way to war (ignoring, of course, that that's not what Libby was found guilty of). He also called on Bush not to pardon Libby, even though the White House hasn't even spoken up yet.

Update: Another bummer about the Coulter Affair. She has written well about this case, and has a good understanding of it that she translates into easily digestable column form.  Despite all of this, will it matter what she has to say about Libby, knowledgeable or not? No, because she said "faggot" at CPAC, and shot herself in the foot.

Update: Fitzgerald:

"We took a case to trial and we proved the charges...Any lie under oath is serious...we cannot tolerate perjury. If people don't tell the truth, we have no hope of making the jury system work."

Q: "Cloud on the White House?" Was the VP truthful in his testimony?

"We try and treat everyone the same in our legal system. We don't talk about people not on trial. When someone doesn't tell the truth to the system, everyone suffers."

"We responded fairly and honestly by saying that there was a cloud there, put there not by us, but by Libby."

Q: Is your investigation over?

"I do not expect to file any further charges..We're all going back to our day jobs." 

The Nutroots won't like that at all. 

Update: Hot Air's collecting video.

Update: Sentencing guidelines:

As others have suggested; Sandy Berger lied to investigators and destroyed national security documents to prevent them from being seen by the 9/11 Commission. He paid a $50,000 fine, had to do 100 hours of community service or thereabouts, and lost his security clearance for two years or so.

I'd say that should be the maximum sentence for Libby. Maybe about half that.