THE BLOG
02/20/2007 02:00 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Libby: Afternoon Closings, Part One

[Earlier liveblogging from today: Libby Defense Closing, Part One, Government Closing Argument Part One]

1:40 Jeffress is up. Will talk about an hour.

He offers a two minute summary of his closing: The Government is going to ask them to find thatLibby made up a story because he was afraid for his career. In making up that story, he chose the world's most famous tv newsman, Tim Russert. He had to know the FBI could just go to Russert and ask him.

He knew the FBI would go out and talk to all the people he had discussions with.

The Government asks you to find that he did all this to protect himself from prosecuction for a crime he did not commit, for his crime and security clearance that never were in jeopardy.

Common sense alone tells them they did not carry that burden.

He moves into memory. He talks about everyday lives and memory.

This is a case about memory.

Now he's going to begin his closing focusing on the witness statements.

Agrees that Libby first learned Wilson's wife worked for the CIA on June 11. Shows Libby's handwritten note of meeting with Cheney on June 11 when Cheney told him about Wilson.

Libby told the FBI about that note the first time he was interviewed.

Moves to Walter Pincus and his June 12th article about the former Ambassador. Later, in October, Pincus wrote another article. Fitz asks Libby in the grand jury that he has no recollection of telling Pincus. Is it possible you did? Fitz asked it numerous ways. He says he puts this up to show that spending 8 hours in the grand jury is difficult. He points out Libby's voice got very low at the end. Maybe he was just worn down after 8 hours of that type of questioning.

Jeffress moves into the defense witnesses. None of them said Libby told them anything about Wilson's wife.
He lists all the reporters who knew the information about Wilson's wife by July 11, 2003. Of the 11 reporters Libby talked to about the Wilson matter, only one, Judy Miller, says he volunteered information about Wilson's wife.

The White House Press Secretary, Ari Fleischer, told three different reporters about Wilson's wife. He got immunity on Feb. 16, 2004. He testified before the grand jury Feb. 24. Just two weeks before Scooter Libby was scheduled to go in.

2:00 Discusses Fleischer's immunity deal. Says Fleischer is smooth. He suggests Fleischer confused Libby with Dan Bartlett who told him about Wilson's wife on Air Force One in Africa.

Fleischer denied telling Pincus about Valerie Wilson. The Government has three possibilities.

Pincus is lying
Fleischer is lying
Their third alternative is Fleischer forgot. Everyone forgets conversations. Everyone except Libby, according to the Government.

2:15 Libby didn't get the basic facts wrong. But it's hard to be in the grand jury for 8 hours. What witness didn't get something wrong?

The defense is not contending Armitage or others did anything wrong. Neither did Libby. He moves into motive. Libby didn't violate the law. It only applies if agent is covert and the CIA is taking active measures to protect the agent. In all of the testimony, there has been no information about whether Ms. Wilson is covert.

Refers to Libby's grand jury testimony where Libby said most of the people working for the CIA are not covert, he plays softball with guys who readily tell you they work for the CIA.

He brings up some news articles. Reminds them that the judge has told them they can't accept the news articles as truth, only for Libby's state of mind.

He continues focusing on Libby's state of mind here and how it fails to show any motive for him to lie. He's very close to arguing Plame was not covert but he's very careful to phrase it as Libby's state of mind to refute Fitz' motive argument.

He moves on to Judith Miller. Miller has a memory problem. She failed to remember the June 23 conversation for two years, but when she does, she remembers Libby was agitated and angry? He plays a tape of Miller discussing her full plate at the time and her memory. He points out that she testified she had several conversations with a lot of officials about Valerie and Joseph Wilson. But she couldn't remember the name of one when Jeffress asked her on cross-examination.

In 2004, when she lost the subpoena battle, she agreed with Fitz to talk about Libby but not other sources. She spent 85 days in jail to avoid saying she doesn't remembe?

He moves on to Matt Cooper. Jeffress suggest maybe he confused Matt Cooper with Tim Russert, since Cooper remembers asking Libby if he's heard anything about Wilson's wife. So, Wells suggests maybe Libby confused Russert with Novak while Jeffress suggests Libby may have confused Russert with Cooper.

Cooper's notes reflect not one word about Wilson's wife. Compare Cooper's notes after talking to Libby to those after talking to Rove.

Talks about how Cooper mistypes r and n and concedes the "ever" could be "even." What that sentence may well have said if he reported it accurately:

"heard something about the Wilson thing and not sure if it's even true"? (More on that here.)

Thoughts: Jeffress is the more effective closer from a factual point of view. He's really done a great job on Ari Fleischer, Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper. He doesn't have Wells' passion, but he makes so much more sense.

Jeffress has brought this trial back to an even footing. He is so much more focused and credible than Wells.

Break until 3:00, then back to Wells.