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February 16, 2007


yes; my take on the pathetic Andrea Mitchell.
off track but did you see that Robert S. Lady got indicted?

Don't you ever wonder if there is a Clinton-Bush connection? Bush is known to only work with allies. No one else. What is this a democracy or a kingdom?

I've been off the Libby IV awhile. I see you have posted four provocative leads on top of this week's live blogging! I have comments on all - but as a neophyte blogger I don't know if protocol directs I post on the thread Most Relevant or Most Recent. Perhaps you or someone else has pity on me and elucidates.

FINALLY I got to read through your book "Anatomy of Deceit"! As others who've bought it have learned it is set up quite differently from your work here. My first reaction was a sort of mild disappointment - like one experiences from one's comfort zone being shaken. On reflection though I appreciate the differences are partly a function of the difference in medium and overall I found it really helpful - to the extent it seemed unsatisfying that was only so because the story is not ended.

I want to thank you for your book answering a raft of questions still bothering poor newbie me - still all aches and pains from working thru eriposte's brain twisters. I particularly liked your read on why Libby resorted to Russert. Moreover and most - I congratulate you for adherence to the larger message for citizenship.

I hope not too artifically so - but I use that compliment to segue to my critique of your lead here.

While both prosecutors and defense counsellors are lawyers - both Fitzgerald and Wells are Harvard Law grads - even this defendant is a Harvard alum! though not in law there - they have different roles - and I think very importantly so.

I am more comfortable with Fitzgerald's style not merely because I wish success to this current prosecution and to see more like in the progression - but because it fits both my own conception of the ideal for the role of prosecution and to some degree what I see best of my own style (though I assure you that Fitzgerald performs on a much bigger stage before a far tougher audience than I ever did or have faced).

I don't care for Wells' style. I gather you don't either. But I see four distinctions at work here between your perspective and mine - which hopefully segue later on here into what might be a mildly useful observation.

The distinctions are:

[1] if I presume to write as you "IANAL"

[2] speaking for myself IAAL,

[3] Fitzgerald's role here is to prosecute ON BEHALF OF The United States of America - as opposed to ON BEHALF OF the Bush/Cheney administration

- and in these peculiar circumstances he is acting for a party VERY MUCH opposed in interest to the Bush/Cheney administration - even if he would not accept that, and

[4] Wells' role here is to defend an individual named I.Lewis "Scooter" Libby, against The United States of America -

and in these peculiar circumstances he is acting for a party with VERY MUCH that same interest as the Bush/Cheney administration.

I think that last part bears even another dimension. When it comes to federal indictments what is meant by the best interests of "The United States of America" can't mean "that which is in the best interests of the government of the day" - or anyway not unless putting Bush into the Betty Ford Center and Cheney into longterm care is seen as being in THEIR best interests - a pretty arguable point! - and it also can't mean "that which is in the best interests of the citizens" - because - like or not JOM world - it's not in the best interests of the citizens that Scooter skate Scot free on these charges.

Back to cases - or this case at least.

Anyone experienced with the criminal courts gets to see a lot of defense attorneys with the same style as Wells. I grant that it appears Wells is so accomplished at this style that he is at least cum laude in that particular school of defender styling - and maybe summa.

Wells' style depends for its success on:

stage presence [height doesn't hurt] - a politician's charm or a celebrity's glare or collegiality: SOMETHING to make a bond with the judge [I decline to state the obvious.] - an ability to identify and mimic on command a large range of stereotypical human responses to things bathos and pathos - the quickness of a stand up comic - the stickhandling ability of a pro hockey center - the confrontational command of a college football coach - the hide of a rhino - indomitable resiliency - substantial resourcefulness - superficial stolidity - core unpredictability - and above all an ability to reconcile acting for people who have done the most rotten disgusting despicable even horrifying things with their constitutional entitlement to the same quality of legal representation as those just caught up in circumstances beyond their control or bad luck or targetted by those engaged abusing the power of public office.

That last is what defending attorneys call (among other things) "The Cocktail Party Question". You know - the question asked at the place where all the weenies are found.

The CPQ doesn't pose a great dilemma to able criminal defense attorneys - particularly among colleagues. They all know it comes with the territory.

The career arc of the criminal defense attorney starts with making a serious commitment which quickly turns into a dedication to take on the legal problems of the poor the despised and the beleagered - and over time and with success the same attorney finds himself or herself acting increasingly for a lot of those less-than-poor and not-at-all- despicable types - but who are nonetheless less beleagered even if only by their own measure as expressed in how much they are able or willing to pay.

After a decade or so of acting for the indigent fighting to keep the shingle up and get the first born out of braces and into private school it's the rare criminal defense attorney who is unable to summon up a functioning sympathy for the kind of client who measures beleagerment in the hundreds of thousands or millions.

I'm inclined to think this is just symptomatic of that broader human 'failing' which sadly afflicts a significant part of the population - one captured in aphorisms like "No good deed ever goes unpunished" and "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions". A good and well-motivated individual makes a serious commitment to helping others as a matter of first and inviolable principle and eventually it can be quite surprising where that leads.

I myself am a sufferer. Me - and a bunch of bleeding heart liberals humanists and inveterate progressives.

I don't admire - rather I despise - any of Wells' self promotion or anecdotal inconsistent academics or opportunism - or his client. But if this jury were to let Scooter skate scot free I would not hold Wells in wonder or in contempt or in any way accountable - any more than I would point the fickle finger of failure at Fitz. They both did their jobs and well. I would have preferred this judge to have performed up to the level of the two lead lawyers - but he was okay and I am inclined to doubt his shortcomings matter. Research into jury behaviour indicates that the affect of what judges do and think and say on jury decisions likely can be measured somewhere between 'least important' and 'probably not at all'.

The value of this won't even come in the form of what the jury decides. Let's face it - Scooter's plan has a downside of conviction followed by pardon. So what that he won't be able to practice law thereafter? He's never really EVER practiced law like Fitz and Wells - nor could he have. Scooter is as he has been for many years the lowest form of political slough scum - a lobbyist appointee.

The real value - No - the ONLY value to this exercise is the same as the core message of your book. It's all up to the citizenry to clean the scum out of this system.

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