Libby's Got a First Rate Defense Team: No Potted Plant For Him

Thursday, November 03, 2005
With today's plea of Not Guilty (no surprise) the leaders of Scooter's defense team have been revealed. They are stellar.

As disclosed on his webpage, Ted Wells successfully defended Mike Espey, Bill Clinton's Secretary of Agriculture, Raymond Donovan, Ronald Reagan's Secretary of Labor and a host of other luminaries in white collar cases. He was counsel to the Democratic Party of New Jersey and Treasurer of Bill Bradley's presidential campaign. He is a Partner in the national firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison, headquartered in New York. He is a superstar. Oh, and he appears to be of African descent.

According to his webpage Bill Jeffress , with the D.C. office of Texas powerhouse Baker and Botts, has won acquittals for public officials accused of extortion, perjury, money laundering, and vote-buying; for lawyers charged with bank fraud, insurance fraud, and money laundering; and for businessmen accused of antitrust offenses, bribery, tax fraud, mail fraud, misapplication of funds, and RICO violations. He has also served as an expert witness in the legal ethics of criminal defense.

All in all a formidable team. Just what David Thomson and I said in our earlier posts here and here was necessary for Libby to conduct a successful full-bore defense.


Brit Hume's evening news program carried a clip of Wells making a statement after Libby's arraignment. Well's message? Libby will conduct an all out defense and wants a jury trial. A very strong statement, and not conciliatory at all.

It was revealed that Libby waived his right to a speedy trial so that his defense team could get the necessary clearances to review all relevant classified information. This makes clear that the evidence will get a thorough going over.

In addition, an old clip of Jeffress was trotted out, and Major Garrett's voice over indicated that the defense will strongly challenge the recollections of Russert, Miller and Cooper where they differed from Libby's version.

The next hearing won't be until February.


terrye said...

I hope he has a fighting chance.

It just does not seem right that he could go to jail for 3 ten minute phone conservations with a bunch of reporters when Sandy Berger got not jail time for stealing and destroying classified documents.

Sometimes I hate politics

RogerA said...

Terrye--*Sometimes* ?

I am SO looking forward to this trial--Wilson and Plame, all the journalists; the wit and wisdom of the Vice President--It will be a circus--

Knucklehead said...

...a superstar... and he appears to of African descent.

Please. Somebody. Stop. Me.

If the lip didn' slip, you must aquit!

Yes, it was terrible. Yes, I understand I shouldn't do these things. Yes, I have no self control.

vnjagvet said...


Johnny will be watching from above and sending vibes.

The evidence will be a bit thinner here, I believe. Probably won't need Barry Scheck or F Lee.

And this judge is no Ito.

Jamie Irons said...


We'll wait and see what happens, but I am a nasty and vindictive person in this case (as I feel the left is hurting our war effort with all these antics) so I hope it will appear to them as though Mr. Libby "got off" should he be acquitted, even if he really is entirely innocent (as he may or may not be). I just want to revel in the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

vnjagvet said...

Me too. And I hope the defense figures out how to go after Joe Wilson and expose those who enabled him for good measure.

I wonder what Porter Goss is doing tonight?

Just wonderin'

RogerA said...

Jaime--schadenfreude? from a medical professional? :)

vnjagvet: your thoughts on issues of press confidentiality and that sort of thing in a criminal trial? I am sure members of the press can assert these things, but are they applicable in a criminal trial?

Thanks in advance

(BTW I noted NPR spend 15 minutes tonite talking about the not guilty plea and interviewing all sorts of people--this indictment clearly seems to be all the MSM has going for them--and it isnt even close to Iran-Contra.

vnjagvet said...


To the extent such privileges are used to hide information, those using them lose, at best, their credibility, and at worst, their competence as witnesses.

This will have to be handled with some delicacy by the prosecution in order to get proof of some elements of the charged offenses.

Failure of proof on any one element of a defense results in acquittal.

terrye said...

If Rove survives the next few weeks, and I hope he will I think a lot of the interest in this may be gone by Feb. Except ofcourse for the fact thaa the press are a bunch of self absorbed cry babies who will do everything they can to keep it alive.

I saw part of the press conference. That lawyer sounded pretty damn sure of himself.

Fitz might end up wishing he had let this go.

Rick Ballard said...


It won't be over until Libby says it's over. Hard to read this thing at this point but if he were going to plea I don't see a huge benefit to picking these guys for the defense. Legally, Libby has nothing to fear. If convicted he'll be pardoned. Politically it can be seen as an opportunity to put the Demsm on trial and also an opportunity shine a light on factionalism within the CIA.

I doubt that they will go after Fitzgerald, it's just not W's style. They may go after the reporters involved - especially Russert - very heavily. Should they choose to do so, I'll be applauding the whole time.

I agree that Fitz may not like the position that he is now in but he could easily have closed up shop without indicting anyone. If he wants to run with the big dogs, this is his chance. I think he's going to find out that he's still a pup.

This isn't about cheap pols selling commercial drivers licenses for political contributions.

terrye said...

I think the press needs to get some of this back.

I believe in freedom of the press, but it seems to me that certain responsibilities should go with the freedom.

vnjagvet said...

There is no reason to go after the prosecutor in this case. It would be counterproductive.

This a cabal by rogue CIA folks and the Press. That is the way it needs to be portrayed. There is another wrinkle.

The White House has flanked the CIA with Porter Goss in charge. He can work from within perfectly legally. How much cooperation do you think the prosecutor's office will get in tracking down CIA witnesses? They may be assigned to Afghanistan, or some other far flung place, "for the convenience of the Government". And who's to complain?

Republican Congress, Republican Senate, Republican Chief of the CIA, Republican Vice President. No obstruction necessary. This is pure executive branch stuff.

Since the forum is trial in the Federal District Court, and public, we will see it all.

jedrury said...

These new lawyers are real hard ball players. Wells took the Espy trial to a DC jury and won a very good government case. Jeffress is top notch. That is the way it should be. Go with the best.
Fitzgerald has been canonized by the media; St. Patrick of Chicago. There are a lot of angles to this case; a clearly defensible case.
Was Libby given a chance to recant? Were the statements material? What about the legitimate defense demands for all the CIA back up material on Niger? Will the press cough up the rest of the notes? St. Patrick has more hurdles than the Grand National with these boys.

terrye said...

I have to tell you that if my freedom depended on my recopllection of conversations which took place years or even months ago I would be in trouble.

I would imagine a lot of jurors might be thinking the same thing.

Libby is not accused of some hideous crime...he is accused of remembering a handful conversations differently than the other guy.

I have to admit I would have a hard time sending anyone to jail for something like that.

vnjagvet said...


You are just the kind of juror the Libby team is looking for. They only need one.