Wednesday, November 15, 2006
"Scooter" Libby is arguing that there was no underlying crime, no motive to lie, and thus the jury should be allowed to hear evidence that he had no reason to lie. From a legal perspective this is a tough argument as perjury (actually false declarations here) does not require a motive and a lack of a motive does not negate the elements of the offense. From a practical perspective, however, this may be a hook for a jury, if it is so inclined, to find that he did not have the mens rea to commit the offense.
The basic elements of this charge are that the accused acted "1) under oath; 2) before or ancillary to any court or grand jury of the United States; 3) made a false; 4) material statement; 5) with knowledge of its falsity." See Podgor & Israel, White Collar Crime in a Nutshell 3rd Ed. (Thomson/West 2004).