Friday, May 25, 2007

fitzgerald's sentencing memorandum -- u.s. v. libby -- may 25, 2007

while some parts are redacted
[govt. motion to seal, at right],
there is much documentary-
goodness still here -- let's
take a look -- now remember,
this is probably the most-
able federal prosecutor in
the nation at the moment,
on the record,
before u.s. district
court judge walton -- making
these statements
, this afternoon.

[UPDATED -- the "why this case" section
of this fine memorandum now appears
practically en todo, here.]:


CR. NO. 05-394 (RBW)
also known as Scooter Libby


The UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, by its attorney, PATRICK J. FITZGERALD, Special Counsel, respectfully submits the following sentencing memorandum:

I. Introduction

On March 6, 2007, following a month long trial, a jury convicted defendant I. Lewis Libby of one count of obstruction of justice in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1503, one count of making false statements in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001, and two counts of perjury in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1623. This memorandum addresses the seriousness of defendant’s offense conduct and responds to certain possible mitigating arguments identified in the Presentence Investigation Report. . .

II. Seriousness of Defendant’s Offense Conduct

In October 2003, the Department of Justice opened an investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of classified information concerning the employment of Valerie Plame Wilson by the Central Intelligence Agency. . .

As President Bush stated on October 6, 2003: "[t]his is a very serious matter, and our administration takes it seriously. . . . We’re talking about a criminal action, but also hopefully will set a clear signal we expect other leaks to stop, as well. And so I look forward to finding the truth." Remarks by President Bush at Press Availability with President Kibaki of Kenya, Oct. 6, 2003. . . The President and his spokesman made it clear on repeated occasions that the President expected everyone in his administration to cooperate and provide information to the investigators.

. . .It was apparent from early in the investigation that classified information relating to a covert intelligence agent had been disclosed without authorization. Also early in the investigation, investigators learned the identities of three officials –- Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Senior Adviser to the President Karl Rove, and Mr. Libby, the Vice-President’s Chief of Staff -– who had disclosed information regarding Ms. Wilson’s CIA employment to reporters. . .

In many respects, the manner in which witnesses from the President to ordinary citizens participated in this criminal investigation, disclosing to investigators information that few of them were eager to share, with the guidance of the courts when disputes arose, is a testament to the strength of a fundamental principle of our nation’s justice system: that the law is entitled to every man’s evidence. Inherent in this principle is the obligation of a witness to tell the truth, particularly under oath. . .

It is against this background that Mr. Libby’s conduct must be judged. As an experienced attorney, Mr. Libby knew well both the seriousness of this investigation and the range of options available to him as the investigation progressed. He, of course, could have told the truth, even if, as was the case for many other witnesses, doing so risked the possibility of criminal prosecution, or personal or political embarrassment. He also could have declined to speak to the FBI agents, invoked his Fifth Amendment rights before the grand jury, or challenged any lines of inquiry he believed improper. . .

Regrettably, Mr. Libby chose the one option that the law prohibited: he lied. He lied repeatedly to FBI agents and in sworn grand jury testimony, and he lied about multiple facts central to an assessment of his role in the disclosure of Ms. Wilson’s CIA employment. . .

These lies had two direct results. First, they made impossible an accurate evaluation of the role that Mr. Libby and those with whom he worked played [ed. note: read as -- mister vice president dick cheney!] in the disclosure of information regarding Ms. Wilson’s CIA employment and about the motivations for their actions. . .

Our criminal justice system rests on the premise that all witnesses have an equal and solemn obligation of candor. We cannot take this candor for granted because the daily work of the criminal justice system depends on the willingness of every witness -– whether an eyewitness to a violent crime or drug transaction, or a police officer who witnessed a partner shake down a drug dealer, or a corporate executive aware of fraud by his or her colleagues -– to tell the truth under circumstances where there often are strong motives to do otherwise. Particularly in a case such as this, where Mr. Libby was a high-ranking government official whose falsehoods were central to issues in a significant criminal investigation, it is important that this Court impose a sentence that accurately reflects the value the judicial system places on truth-telling in criminal investigations. . .

III. Response to Certain Arguments in Mitigation

In this case, as is his right, Mr. Libby maintains that despite his conviction, he is totally innocent. He has expressed no remorse, no acceptance of responsibility, and no recognition that there is anything he should have done differently -– either with respect to his false statements and testimony, or his role in providing reporters with classified information about Ms. Wilson’s affiliation with the CIA. . .

The evidence at trial further established that when the investigation began, Mr. Libby kept the Vice President apprised of his shifting accounts of how he claimed to have learned about Ms. Wilson’s CIA employment. The evidence proved that Mr. Libby invented a conversation about Ms. Wilson’s employment with Mr. Russert, lied about other conversations with other officials and reporters and claimed not to have known the information he was spreading to reporters about Ms. Wilson’s CIA employment was true. Mr. Libby even went so far as to claim that he was “surprised” and “taken aback” by what Mr. Russert had told him about Ms. Wilson and the CIA on July 10, and to claim that Mr. Libby did not even know at the time of his conversations with reporters that Mr. Wilson had a wife. Mr. Libby also claimed to have a clear memory that the only topic he did not discuss with the Vice President in the aftermath of the Wilson Op Ed was Ms. Wilson’s CIA employment. . .

To accept the argument that Mr. Libby’s prosecution is the inappropriate product of an investigation that should have been closed at an early stage, one must accept the proposition that the investigation should have been closed after at least three high-ranking government officials were identified as having disclosed to reporters classified information about covert agent Valerie Wilson, where the account of one of them was directly contradicted by other witnesses, where there was reason to believe that some of the relevant activity may have been coordinated, and where there was an indication from Mr. Libby himself that his disclosures to the press may have been personally sanctioned by the Vice President. To state this claim is to refute it. Peremptorily closing this investigation in the face of the information available at its early stages would have been a dereliction of duty, and would have afforded Mr. Libby and others preferential treatment not accorded to ordinary persons implicated in criminal investigations. . .

Respectfully submitted,

[UPDATED -- balance of memo is here.]

well -- that is astonishing.

i think that is the most solidly-
damning "non-indictment" indictment
of the vice president i've yet read. . .


pwrlght said...

Oh this is good. PJF basically just hands Libby his ass and politely calls him a big fat liar.

Thanks for the post.

condor said...


exactly -- and he hints at the vice
president's role, as well. . .

thanks -- do stop back. . .

Anonymous said...

Thank you for getting thsi up so quickly Nolo.

What a marvelous piece of writing

condor said...

looseheadprop, it is an
honor to see you, here. . .

and -- the man's writing
is as though"writ in water", no?

is there anything he can't do?

do stop back from time to time!

p e a c e