Friday, October 28, 2005

The Libby Indictment

The indictment of I. Lewis Libby, now the former chief of staff to Vice-President Cheney, is available here.  The five-count indictment primarily involves Libby's testimony regarding his interactions with Time reporter Matthew Cooper and NBC news personality Tim Russert, both of whom Libby told the FBI and grand jury were the source of his information about Valerie Plame's position at the CIA.  Libby had two interviews with the FBI, and testified twice before the grand jury. Although the indictment does not reference directly the testimony of Cooper and Russert, the government's case is based on their providing contradictory statements, so the prosecution appears to be one based largely on whether the jury believes the reporters or Libby.  While the indictment identifies various persons with whom Libby discussed Plame's CIA role, the crux of the case is his false testimony regarding his conversations with Russert and Cooper, so that will be the key to the prosecution.

The obstruction of justice count sets forth the matters that were "material" to the grand jury investigation, a key point that must be established for the charges:

During the course of the Grand Jury Investigation, the following matters, among others, were material to the Grand Jury Investigation:

i. When, and the manner and means by which, defendant LIBBY learned that Wilson’s wife was employed by the CIA;

ii. Whether and when LIBBY disclosed to members of the media that Wilson’s wife was employed by the CIA;

iii. The language used by LIBBY in disclosing any such information to the media, including whether LIBBY expressed uncertainty about the accuracy of any information he may have disclosed, or described where he obtained the information;

iv. LIBBY’s knowledge as to whether any information he disclosed was classified at the time he disclosed it; and

v. Whether LIBBY was candid with Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in describing his conversations with the other government officials and the media relating to Valerie Wilson.

The indictment does refer to Libby speaking with a senior official in the White House, who is then identified as "Official A."  From recent news reports, this would appear to be Karl Rove.  One official specifically identified as providing Libby with information about Plame's CIA status is the Vice-President, which likely means Cheney will be a witness for the government in the case.  This witness will be a particularly delicate one for the prosecutors to handle because of the long relationship between the Vice-President and Libby. (ph)

Obstruction, Perjury, Prosecutions | Permalink

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