Thursday, May 25, 2006

Fitz: Cheney Would be A Logical Gov't Witness

From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney could be called to testify in the perjury case against his former chief of staff, a special prosecutor said in a court filing Wednesday.

Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald suggested Cheney would be a logical government witness because he could authenticate notes he jotted on a July 6, 2003, New York Times opinion piece by a former U.S. ambassador critical of the Iraq war.

Fitzgerald said Cheney's "state of mind" is "directly relevant" to whether I. Lewis"Scooter"Libby, the vice president's former top aide, lied to FBI agents and a federal grand jury about how he learned about CIA officer Valerie Plame's identity and what he subsequently told reporters.

Libby "shared the interests of his superior and was subject to his direction," the prosecutor wrote. "Therefore, the state of mind of the vice president as communicated to (the) defendant is directly relevant to the issue of whether (the) defendant knowingly made false statements to federal agents and the grand jury regarding when and how he learned about (Plame's) employment and what he said to reporters regarding this issue."

Most times prosecutors don't like to call somebody as a witness in a trial if they plan to indict him/her later on. Mike at Crest, noting the careful language Fitzgerald uses ("would be a logical government witness") wonders if Fitz is indicating that Cheney is not an eventual target in this investigation or if Fitz is simply responding to some question Libby's lawyers filed (i.e., Libby's Defense: "Will you be calling the VP to testify?"; Fitz: "Cheney would be a logical government witness.")

It's hard to say, because as Mike notes, there is no context given for the Fitzgerald filing. But it does prove one thing about the investigation: more embarrassing/damaging information about the VP is likely to come out the longer this thing goes on.

And it looks like it's going to go on a long while.

UPDATE: The NY Daily News provides the context for the Fitzgerald filing:

Fitzgerald raised the possibility of Cheney testifying in response to a court filing by Libby's attorneys, which said the vice president would not be called and that Cheney's handwritten notes would not be admissible as evidence.

"Contrary to defendant's assertion, the government has not represented that it does not intend to call the vice president as a witness at trial," Fitzgerald wrote.

"To the best of government's counsel's recollection, the government has not commented on whether it intends to call the vice president as a witness," he wrote.

There was no immediate comment from the White House.

There you go - Fitz is saying that Cheney's handwritten notes on the July 6 Joe Wilson Op-Ed are admissable because the government may plan to call him as a witness.

And it is thursday again... And I began a setence with and. This does not bode well.
It definitely doesn't bode well for Libby. And Murray Waas' piece in National Journal doesn't bode well for Karl Rove or Robert Novak.
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