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May 31, 2007

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A sound ruling. There's no reason in the world why the court should be bothered with the task of shielding public figures who want to coddle convicts.

Or those trying to curry favor with public figures who want to coddle convicts.

Wow, Marcy! This is great news. Only 150 letters? I'm surprised at how few there are...

"Walton must not read the WaPo editorial page, if he's talking about the weightiness of the underlying charges. Who's going to tell Fred Hiatt?"

ROTFLMAO.

Would susp[ect Scooter to release fully unredacted stuff as to creat controversy and play the victims' card...

The 150 letters number is both for and against Libby. I am just as curious to see who wrote letters asking for the book to be thrown at Libby.

the weightiness of the underlying charges.


It's nice to know that Judge Walton understands he is about to sentence a traitor.

It pays to increase your word power. Opprobrium. Had to look it up; what a great word!

Fabulous work, Marcy, as always.

tbsa

hear hear.

The underlying charge is treason

merciless

Yeah, I was going to comment on opprobium. Sure makes those ready to throw the book at Scooter look real smart.

Doing the Snoopy Dance of Joy for Joe and Valerie Plame Wilson and Patrick Fitzgerald and our beleagured nation. ;~)

I don't understand why they aren't made public sooner. Ordinarily, documents filed in a court are public immeidately, in part to permit others to respond to whatever they say before the hearing.

So if Fred Hiatt turns out to be one those writing in favor of leniency, we should start a campaign to get him out of WaPo.

"Not sure what a little old blogger could have done anyway..."

Your modesty becomes you, Marcy... However, you are one of the best examples of just how influential, directly and peripherally, a "little old blogger" can become in a new medium like "the blogs."

Keep after em', and thank you for keeping all of us laymen informed, your perspective helps cut through the spin.And as for the "weightiness" of some of these charges, no doubt there are many neocon operatives living under the sword of damocles cliche' "heavy, heavy hangs over thy head..."

What do you suppose they KNOW already, and hope to hell that none of it ever comes out? And all the while, everything is falling in around them, they must have more dirty little secrets than we could ever imagine.

Like the home-alone kid who figured, if he really was slick, no one would ever know he stole a cookie... except that during this burglary, he broke the cookie jar... Now he's just waiting for Mom or Dad to show up with a switch, 'cus the evidence is pretty conclusive...

Which begs a couple simple questions...How many powerful R's KNOW something they aren't telling? and just how many cookie jars got broken over the last six years?

JEP

Just so I'm clear, EW: you're saying that, in all likelihood, Walton has telegraphed that a glut of Republic astroturf, gushing about Scooter as a pillar of the community and a patriotic American, is NOT likely to sway him?

Unless I am mistaken, the Hiatts partially OWN the WaPo, so there's no "gettin' rid of him" unless we were to organize a grassroots investment wave to buy up some of these stresses media outlets...

HMMMM.... now there's a thought... Bloggers buying up the LA Times and some other poorly managed mainstream rags???

Something to chew on for a while...

Were I Irve, that "weightiness of the underlying charges" business would have me getting my affairs in order.

"The underlying charge is treason"

We should be hearing that basic, undeniable truth much more often, as the results of the passing Republican stranglehold on all our branches of government is uncovered...

Call it what you want, so much of whatever we see here IS treasonous and there's no other word to define it.

Barry

Dunno. I suspect he will dismiss anything he perceives to be astroturf, pro or contra Libby. But hopefully he read my letter on the benefits that accrue to Dick with leniency.

So, the righties pushed the spam campaign because they said that there was no underlying crime -- except that there WAS an underlying crime.

Have they no shame? At long last, have they no shame?

I wrote a 'throw the book at him' letter in my head—and then sublimated it into a thousand comments on The Next Hurrah, Daily Kos, and Firedoglake. I guess that will just have to do.

Shorter Judge Walton: If you cut a deal by Monday morning, it'll save me the trouble of reading all of these horseshit letters before I have to come in on Tuesday and fry your ass.

What are the chances that Judy Miller wrote Scooter an Aspen Turning 2.0 letter?

-

How many people do you think are going to try to get their letters back?

"Have they no shame?"

No, PW, they don't.

Garrison Keillor said once "Republicans made their peace with hypocrisy long ago..."

And once you've signed one of those pernicious contracts in blood,(Iraq), there's no erasing it, after the war went bad.

Their only choice now is patent deception and even more patent denial. Their desperation grows ever more transparent. And I have blogged before "beware the cornered beast..."

Toensing's their best/worst example; no matter how many real experts say Plame was covert, she repeats her "not-covert" lie, simply because there is no longer any alternative for them but r them but to create and promulgate an alternative truth.

Since Truth knows no alternatives, it is simply frantic spin.

Judge Walton deserves a Medal of Freedom. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait for the next President before he gets one!

good analysis as usual Marcy. Did you go to the impeachment town hall with Conyers, Ray McGovern, Debra Sweet (from World can't wait). what happened? I didn't see any thing in the news

Oh, ho, ho - Libby's so fucked.

Frank P, loved your shorter judge walton.

And for those of you pretending to know or too lazy to look it up yourselves ----

op·pro·bri·um – noun 1. the disgrace or the reproach incurred by conduct considered outrageously shameful; infamy. 2. a cause or object of such disgrace or reproach.

Decisions like this give me hope. One for the good side.

"Have they no shame? At long last, have they no shame?"
emptywheel


sadly, no.


emptywheel, work like yours is making a difference. Thank you thank you thank you.
We desperately need patriots like you with this govt. filled with treasonous criminals.
And thank you for having created this blog, which is so much more than "just a blog"

EW

Before you get to happy calling those letters spam, consider that it may have been primarily letters from people wanting a harsh sentence for Libby that make up the bulk of it.

I think the fact that Walton connects the letters with the weightiness of the charges suggests to me that the "weight" of the pile of anit Scooter letters outweighs the pile of Leniency letters.

LHP

I suspect the numbers might end up being 40 against and 110 for Libby, only because the pro-libby side had Jeffress out actively looking for letters. But in any case, I can imagine Reggie treating all of them like spam, rather than getting into the swamp of the political motivations that spur each side.

Reggie probably handed them off to a clerk with the mandate to note if anyone mentions a legal argument worth considering that has not been otherwise introduced. Good job for a clerk. Otherwise toss it in the spam pile.

OT -- but wrt to the immigration judges, there is a NYT article on the arbitrariness of their decisions in asylum cases, depending on who they are/what they believe. Second half of article ties in Goodling.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/31/washington/31asylum.html

An argument can be made that that DOJ/Goodling wanted to limit the number of decisions granting political asylum.

Re earlier stories about Walton receiving an appointment as a FISA judge: is that an appointment he HAS to take? Can he turn it down? Would we WANT him to turn it down? Seems like there's such a huge amount of "action" in the DeeCee Federal Court on which we'd like to see him deciding.

And besides, even if he turned down the govt's request for a FISA warrant, they'd probably either do it anyway or go judge-shopping. Doesn't seem like he'd be much use to the nation over there.

"The underlying charge is treason" is a quick-and-to-the-point version of what needs to be said. But when Keith Olbermann gives us (or whomever) "30 seconds before we go to break" (or whatever), don't forget to trot out HW's quote:

"I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors."

As we all are aware, 3 years for obstruction lets Libby off light. He and his boss should hang for treason.

BTW if there was a huge outpouring of anti leniency letters and the manitude of those letters re-enforced in Walton's mind the seriousness of what Libby did,

That would be quite a victory for the average citzen who's paasion for honest government and the rule of law would have impact.

It would also be a testiment to the ability of the bloggeshere to empower average citizens by explaining to them how to have input intot he proceedings, and furnishing basic information such as addresses and deadlines.

BTW, I like the Scooby Doo version of "ut oh" -- "Rut Roh."

Somehow Scooby Doo and Bush inhabit the same lack-of-intelligence level.

EW, LHP and Dismayed - The phrasing of Walton will give you a clue as to whether he actually personally consumed the content of each and every letter. If he states that he "read" all of the letters submitted to the court regarding sentencing; then i think it is a safe bet he really did. If he says he "reviewed" the letters, I believe that will indicate he utilized a process similar to that which Dismayed described where letters written by significant people and/or containing significant points were flagged by clerks and given to him to consider. I actually think he will attempt to read all of them, pro and con(vict), as his last act of being consumately fair to all parties and leaving no appealable error.

It's always difficult (and dangerous) to try and read anything into the tone of a judge's writings or choice of words, but in this case Judge Walton has been scrupulously careful to show that he gave Scooter the benefit of all legal and procedural doubts. If I were Scooter's lawyer, I wouldn't necessarily tell him that he should bring his toothbrush to the sentencing hearing, but I would tell him that any chance of bail extending more than a week before surrender to the Marshalls was slim or none. LHP or Bmaz, in the US Federal system, does the appeal court review bail once revoked by the trial judge?

Gosh, I hope there's a letter from the Lieberman family.

Is Libby now wearing Depends?

"leniency for the dependent"

Mauimom

I don't know--I sort of like the idea of Reggie as a FISA judge. He has been, IMO, emminently fair. I don't mind him deciding if Dick Cheney gets to wiretap me or not.

LHP

What? Are you saying the blogosphere empowered average citizens by explaining how to send letters? That's so downright patriotic!

EW re the 40/100 split.
ou could be right, but I wonder since so many folks at FDL were anxious to write. I keep having that "Miracle on 34th Street" vision.

I think Jefress was looking for letters from the powerful, who tend to be a bit chary with the use of their own good names. So, by the ned of the trial, Vicky and Babs and Mary were pretty much discredited. Would Jefress have even wanted their letters?

Other than the possible leter from Fred Thompson (and Tucker's Daddy) who do we think could be both powerful enough to be "worth" having a letter from and willing to give it?

On the other hand, the side of the average citizen didn't care about how important the authors were. So, letters were encouraged from anyone who truly cared enough to write.

Libby's solitications of letters would have been targeted. The anti leniency letters would not have been the result of a trageted apeal and may have produced a bigger outpouring.

Not to imply that I am doing anything but guessing

In my jurisdiction, victims of crime are entitled to make a Victim Impact Statement that becomes part of the court's record and must be taken into account (not determinative, but the judge must turn his/her mind to it). Sometimes these are merely calls for vengeance, but often they make the consequences of a crime apparent and undeniable. In a case like this, due to the classified nature of the CIA damage assessment, we'll never know what the cost in lives or money or potential intelligence gathering was lost - it's clear though, that one victim in this was justice itself, and the interest of the American people in the pursuit of justice. I would love to see someone of the calibre of Laurence Tribe write an open letter in the form of such a Victim Impact Statement for everyone to read.

Teddy

I ALMOST used JoeMentum as my example in the letter Jane and I sent, of someone the public deserved to know if he intervented. Just to be all bipartisan and whatnot (note, I used Woolsey in my article on this, also a nominal Democrat). But when someone in the FDL thread reminded me that Fred Thompson probably sent that, I had to use that instead. And boy will it make a nice campaign issue.

If I'm reading the order correctly, then it's up to Team Libby to file the ex parte brief to redact, not the letter-writers themselves. Though one presumes that if, say, Fred Thompson has buyers' remorse, he'll be on the phone to Jeffress.

Ishmeal

If the Judge revokes bail, you can make a motion to the Ct. of Appeals. In order to win that motion, however, you would have to amke a pretty still showing that the case was likely to be overturned on appeal (or tha the defendant's mother was dying and would dead before hte appeal was concluded and the defendant was the sole caregiver--or a similar circumstance)

I don't think Libby has the best facts for such a motion. It's not impossible, just kinda tough to pull off.

The number, 150, is really disappointing and you lhp nailed this in a recent FDL post. I would have thought FDL would have generated at least 1,500 alone.

Jack Abramoff got 262 letters of support before his sentencing. Poor, Scooter. He must feel so neglected by his crowd.

LHP

I would think anyone willing to lend their name to the Scooter Libby Defense Fund would be willing to write letters, which would be 31 after you discount the dead people. (Though trust me, I will look carefully to make sure Jeane Kirkpatrick didn't vote posthumously for leniency.) ANd then there are undoubtedly going to be the multitudes who think Libby is a nice guy.

Though I'll be thrilled if there are 40 con letters.

LHP - thanks for the info - I always worry about the Silberman factor!

Ishmael: "If I were Scooter's lawyer, I wouldn't necessarily tell him that he should bring his toothbrush to the sentencing hearing[...]"

where Scooter is going, he's going to need to hide any belongings he wants to keep inside his a**hole.

Tekel, as Lenny Bruce said "everybody's ass is up for grabs".

Why would Scooter care about this at all? What he wants is letters of support from powerful, impressive, important people. The letters are in. He got what he wants. Make an attempt to keep them under wraps and that's it. Seriously, when have any of htese guys really cared about the consequences to other people when they're out to get what they want? The only one he may care aobut is the VP and that's assuming he wrote a letter. I doubt he would just for this reason and his role probably isn't as letter writer. I'm sure he's going a different route to lessen Libby's sentence.

Guys, please stop with the anal rape jokes--that is not funny, not ever.

Even if Judge Walton revokes bail, he will likely give Scooter a week or two to get his affairs in order.

I hope it's not like Conrad Black (or was it one of his co-defendats? I think a co-defdeant) who got an extension of his bail conditions to allow him to leave the US to go to a 4th of July BBQ at his country club in Canada.

I never got over the huzchpa af the fdefense for even ASKING for that, but more incredibly, the judge granted the appilcation.

That really frosted me.

EW, I think Lenny meant it in reference to the way our legal system is set up in that everybody gets equal (not preferential) treatment by the law. It's from his one his skits from the "The Berkeley Concert". Sorry, didn't mean to offend.

I was just thinking, that if Judge Walton revokes bail, Scooter is going to need one of those "690 days until Bush leaves office" calculators - I just don't see W pardoning Scooter before January 20 2009, and even if Fred Thompson himself becomes President I don't see a pardon for Libby being he first act of his new administration. 85% of three-plus years is a long stretch for anyone in jail - perhaps after a few weeks or months in the Crowbar Hotel without a letter or a cake from W or Big Time, Scooter will send them his new prison writing project, his draft version of "If I Really Did It", and perhaps get Lucienne Goldberg to flak it for him.

..."Scooter will send them his new prison writing project, his draft version of "If I Really Did It", and perhaps get Lucienne Goldberg to flak it for him. [...]"

LMAO.

Great work, Marcy... yes, your modesty becomes you. I am so proud of the work you do, and continue to do to bring justice to the people... I am enjoying your book, "Anatomy of Deceit", and hope we can meet up and you will sign it for me... I am planning to be at WCDP event... Marlene

Marcy, you might want to think about getting wireless internet from Verizon or another cellular carrier. 400-800kbps and it works almost everywhere. Great for airport waits and crappy hotels :-)

LHP - I wish more Americans were following the Conrad Black trial - his villainy over the course of his career in Canada and Britain has been Snidely Whiplash cartoonish. His career as a criminal and a bully started in his teens as Upper Canada College, where he stole exam papers from the administration, and SOLD them to his classmates - and no, poor Conrad was not a poor Tom Brown scholarship student, but one of the scions of the Canadian Establishment. Irony of ironies, he renounced his Canadian citizenship to become a peer in the House of Lords, and now that renunciation will prevent him from applying to serve whatever sentence he may receive in Canada under the applicable treaty! Conrad used to bemoan what a terrible, socialist, mediocre country Canada was - now that he is in the clutches of the US criminal justice system I'm sure Canada doesn't look so bad - we are very much more lenient to our white collar criminals in Canada. I nominated him once in a contest as the Worst Canadian of All Time.

Marlene

Great, I'd be happy to sign it. And I have your casette recorder. I lost your phone number and have been wondering how to get it back to you!!

Markinsanfran

I know, Mark, I'm contemplating it. I'll have to put up a tip jar to do it, though, bc I can't really justify the expense otherwise.

Judges have their own individual historical track record on remand pending appeal. I would hazard a guess that Walton's record is very consistently in favor of remand, and that he deviates from that in only the most compelling of circumstances. Even though there is a legal presumption for remand pending appeal, there is still discretion for judges and they do vary in how they exercise it. Is there anyone out there who can confirm or refute this as to Walton? Or knows someone who could? Be advised that simply because a judge has a reputation as a non nonsense stiff sentencer (as Walton does), does not necessarily mean he is automaically tough on the remand issue as well. If anybody has, or can get, info on this, I would sure like to hear it. Thanks.

Or his "new prison writing project" might be a proffer for a cooperation agreement?

The best chance there is for Libby to finally flip, is if Libby actually sees what a cell looks like.

The latest filings make it clear that the prosecution believes that Libby is the key to proving scienter and I always had the impression that it was the inabilty to put together a solid enough packegae on the issues of knowledge and intent that prevented additioanl indictments.

I would cut off an arm to see the Rove GJ transcripts unsealed.

So?

Put up a tip jar. People will contribute, hint, hint :)

LHP - if Scooter does flip, can his sentence be reduced once it is rendered by Judge Walton? What discretion does Fitz have in that respect?

I can't wait to see how many letters were received IN SUPPORT of THE RULE OF LAW - arguing in favor of a longer sentence! I would expect that Valerie and Joe submitted one - I wonder if they asked any CIA employees to also write. (Those redactions I would understand!)

My gut tells me that Judge Walton is a no nonense kind of guy, and that he takes obstruction of justice seriously.

cricket

The Wilsons neither submitted a letter nor filed a Victims Impact Report.

Please put up the tip jar. We rely on your comprehensive knowledge, your great memory and your analytical skill -- and keeping you in touch is something I would be proud to help sponsor.
Thanks for all you do -- and for the other commentators as well -- who so willingly share their knowledge and their understanding with all of us.

ew: I didn't mean to suggest abuse, just hiding contraband from the prison guards. You know, like a Christopher-Walken-in-Pulp-Fiction thing.

And on the cellular tip: if you get a Palm Treo phone with a data plan and install PDAnet from June Fabrics ($34 one-time fee), you can have unlimited cellular data access for your laptop from Sprint for $15/month. And if you tell Sprint that you work for IBM or Tenet Healthcare, they'll cut 25% off your monthly bill.

Sounds like a standard form statement from Judge Walton.

Tip jar, please. And it might be time to start on the DoJ book you've been cooking up daily on these electronic pages.

Three years does seem light considering the consequences of what he particiapated in and covered up. Perjury in my opinion should be one of the highest sentance crimes of all. It also seems light when you consider that many drug possesion crimes carry 7 to 10 year sentances.

However, three years ain't no slap on the wrist either. Three years would suck. I really don't get this country club system we've got. All criminals should be treated the same. But three years would still suck.

One thing I hope is added to the sentence is that Libby is prohibited from profit in any way from his crimes. No getting rich off a book that he writes while he's in the slammer. I think three years and a profit prohibition is the least we should fairly expect.

I will bring it... 3 years is way to light a penalty, esp because we are talking about the underlying crime of Treason... but with white collar crime penalties what they are, at least we will have the satisfaction of knowing that he did not escape punishment altogether... can't wait to hear you speak on the 13th... I'll email you my phone... Marlene

hey, if we get a tip jar going, could we use the extra money to buy some new "Open Threads"

we ran out of em last month and we could really use some new ones

I want my ...

I want my ...

I want my open thread ...

The 150 letters number is both for and against Libby. I am just as curious to see who wrote letters asking for the book to be thrown at Libby. Posted by: AZ Matt

I did but I missed the deadline by five days. I wonder if my letter was considered or relegated to the circular file.

So, the righties pushed the spam campaign because they said that there was no underlying crime -- except that there WAS an underlying crime. Have they no shame? At long last, have they no shame? Posted by: Phoenix Woman

They shot themselves in the foot with their own zip gun. Zip is the amount of sincerity in the claim there was no underlying crime and Libby's conviction - with no underlying crime - is unjust.

Justice and irony make good bed fellows.

Neil - My bet is that he is going to read them all that are submitted up to 24 hours before sentencing. No real basis for saying that, it is just my gut guess.

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