The Corner

Another Opinion

For what it’s worth, from a friend and career senior federal prosecutor (and friend):

I have been following Pat’s case, but admittedly I am not familiar with all of the nuances of his evidence. However, I have handled perjury prosecutions in the past and I know from personal experience they are extremely difficult to prove. I have to wonder, what evidence does Pat have that Libby consciously misled (or lied) to the Grand Jury, as opposed to simply making a mistake?

Compare this to the Martha Stewart case — there she had a very strong incentive to mislead the FBI — she had suspiciously dumped a load of Imclone stock just prior to a “bad” Imclone press release. Martha escaped an insider trading charge on a technicality. She got her “information” from her broker, not directly from an Imclone insider. If she had been contacted directly by Imclone’s president with the information that led her to dump her stock she would still be in jail.

In Libby’s case, it is clear the espionage law does not apply, Plume was not undercover, what possible motive would Libby have to lie or obstruct? While motive is not a statutory element of the crime, to prove perjury a prosecutor must give the jury a plausible reason for the defendant to engage in the charged conduct. The only possibility I see, is perhaps Libby “thought” disclosing Plume’s identity to reporters violated the law. But as I understand the timeline, by the time he testified before the Grand Jury everyone was well aware that the Espionage Secrets Act did not apply to Plame.

As a career prosecutor I consider lying to the Grand Jury a very serious crime, it undermines our entire system of justice, but just as deleterious are weak cases that lead to bad rulings. Unless I am missing something, I don’t see it here.

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