jeralyn merritt — clearly showing her
estimable defense lawyer stripes this
morning — writes that, in part, fitz has
charged, and brought, a too-narrow case:
“. . .The dumbest thing the Government did
was charge too narrow a case, and not
indict Cheney along with Libby. . .
In other words, Fitzgerald missed the
forest for the trees. . .
As much as I might prefer it otherwise,
this case [u.s. v. libby] was about memory
and reasonable doubt, not about the
conspiracy that was proven to exist at
the Administration’s highest levels of power. . .”
personally, i think fitz was very wise.
i think he brought — and more pre-
cisely, proved — a multiple-count-felony
case against the vice president’s chief of staff.
once he secures a conviction, there is a least
some logical predicate to believe he could
charge the vice president with directing his
chief of staff’s actions — especially given
the october 3, 2003, jackson hole note, written
in the vice president’s own hand, no less. . .
but without the libby conviction, charging
the nation’s sitting no. 2 with a crime — a felony,
to boot — seems a bit of a fool’s errand. i
write this even though the opinion polls indicate
we’d have to scour history, beyond even spiro
agnew’s stint in that office, to find a more
widely-reviled veep. . .
no, i think the office just weighs too heavily in
the minds of the jurors — it makes the case,
premised on a “beyond a reasonable doubt“
standard of proof — unwinnable, without the
prior conviction of cheney’s underling.
so. . . i think fitz has been deliberately
conservative — playing his hand one card
at. a. time. . .
will scooter libby agree to testify, in return
for a reduced sentence on what looks to be four
felonies? i am uncertain about that.
but, in my view, that is not a compelling enough
reason to bring a far-flung, perhaps meandering,
multi-level, multi-office, multi-tasked, administration
conspiracy case — all in one ball of wax, against libby,
rove and cheney. my hunch is that those sorts of
cases usually lose the jurors in all-those-invariably
weedy details. . .
and so, i do think fitzgerald’s days prosecuting
plame-gate actors will not end with the
verdict in the next few days — no, his efforts
will next point north, into the office of the
vice president’s chain of command.
and there is only one person
north of libby in that office.