Libby Lawyer Asks for Four Hour Closing Argument

Marcy Wheeler, live-blogging for Firedoglake today, reports on the tedious legal arguments over jury instructions. She says in tonight's video, Libby attorney Ted Wells told the Judge he wants four hours for his closing argument.

If you don't have four hours to sit through it, keep your mouse poised at Firedoglake and Huffington Post (I'll be back in D.C. live-blogging at HuffPo.)

If you want the shorthand version of Wells' defense, here is the revised "theory of defense" instruction Team Libby today requested be read to the jury:

Mr. Libby contends that the government has not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that he intended to or did obstruct justice, make intentionally false statements to the FBI, or make intentionally false statements to the grand jury.

Mr. Libby contends that he told the FBI and the grand jury his honest recollections at the time, and to the extent any of those recollections were incorrect, his mistakes were innocent. He contends that he lacked any notes of the conversations about which he was questioned, and that he was unable to refresh his recollection by reviewing the notes of other people and discussing with them their recollections of events.

He further contends that the amount and scope of vital national security issues and information confronting him on a daily basis during June and July 2003 may have affected his memory of any brief conversations about the employment of Mr. Wilson's wife when he talked to FBI investigators in October and November 2003, three or more months after the conversation are alleged to have happened, and when he testified to the grand jury the following March.

Mr. Libby further contends that when the investigation began, he knew that he had not provided any information about Ms. Wilson to Robert Novak. He also contends that he did not know that Ms. Wilson’s employment status was covert or classified and that he did not knowingly disclose classified information about Ms. Wilson to any reporters.

Further, Mr. Libby was well aware when he was first interviewed by the FBI and when he testified to the grand jury that the investigators could and likely would talk to government officials and the journalists he spoke with concerning Ambassador Wilson and that those officials and journalists would truthfully recount their recollections of the conversations he had with them.

Mr. Libby submits he had no reason to lie to the FBI or the grand jury, and did not do so.

As for what Fitzgerald might argue, I think he ought to read Sydney Blumenthal's Salon article...he almost convinced me.

As for how the case pales in interest now compared to 2 1/2 years ago when the Valerie Plame leak threatened to take down the White House, check out Liz Halloran at U.S. News & World Report.

For a roundup of Manhattan defense lawyers' comments on the defense strategy, head over to Josh Gerstein at the New York Sun.

And for a witty (and in my view accurate) description of yesterday's non-finale, read John Dickerson at Slate.

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  • Display: Sort:
    4 hours? (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 05:27:32 AM EST
    geez, hamlet doesn't take 4 hours, and everyone dies at the end!

    wait, that's it, he's going to bore the jury to death, and get a mistrial for his client!


    4 hours does seem a bit much (none / 0) (#3)
    by Deconstructionist on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 08:59:22 AM EST
     for the length of the trial,  amount of evidence and relative simplicity of the charges, but it says that's what he asked for and it is common to ask for morte than you really want because it allows the judge to cut you and still give you what you really think you need.

      Also, you are not required to use the maximum time allotted. On the downside, if you get a long close so does the other side-- even if you don't use all your time-- and where the prosecution gets to reserve a portion of its time for the final summation after you finish, getting the judge to grant a long close can result in allowing the prosecution to make its argument first and still reserve a long time to respond to your argument.


    Liz Halloran... (none / 0) (#2)
    by robert hatch on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 05:54:14 AM EST
    ...might want to read this for context.

    Silly Libby - tricks are for kids (none / 0) (#4)
    by tworivers on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 03:03:01 PM EST
    I'm admittedly biased (I ain't exactly routing for the Scooterman to scoot free), but I think Blumenthal's Salon piece makes a pretty good case for Libby being found guilty, at least on some counts.  The defense did indeed seem to be largely a defense via distraction  ( Sanger - what was the point of his testimony anyway?).

    "Yeah but Russert"  - yes Russert is a tool and acted in a sketchy manner, no question. All of NBC news came off badly in fact.  That said, Russert's sketchiness does not, in my opinion, cancel out all the evidence Fitz compiled demonstrating how very very preoccupied Libby was with the Wilsons (repeated inquiries and discussions with WH figures about Plame, two hour lunches with reporters, etc.).  Too preoccupied to have the sorts of memory problems he claims to have suffered from IMO.

    Just my two cents.