Friday, June 01, 2007

File Under "Why Am I NOT Surprised"

So Libby is going to sentencing, and Fitgerald is demanding punishment beyond reason. Who gave this guy this position?
I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is due to be sentenced next week, and -- just in time -- Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has decided this was a leak case after all. Last week he filed a brief with the court arguing that Mr. Libby should receive a prison sentence in line with crimes that neither he nor anyone else was ever accused of committing. If the court accepts Mr. Fitzgerald's logic, the sentence meted out in this fantastic case would at least double, to a minimum of 30 months. So it goes in a case brought by an unaccountable prosecutor now requesting an unreasonable penalty based on evidence he never introduced at trial. This is America?

Throughout Mr. Libby's prosecution, Mr. Fitzgerald insisted it made no difference to the case whether CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson was undercover. At one pre-trial hearing, he went so far as to argue it would make no difference to the case "if [Ms. Wilson] turned out to be a postal driver mistaken for a CIA employee." He also objected to defense requests for documents concerning her status, insisting this was a perjury trial, not a trial about leaking classified information.

His stonewalling on this point before the trial led the defense to seek an instruction from the judge barring the prosecution from discussing the nature of Ms. Wilson's job at the CIA. But now that the time for sentencing has come, Mr. Fitzgerald has decided that Ms. Wilson's role is relevant after all.

Federal sentencing guidelines permit the court, under certain circumstances, to take into account the seriousness of the original crime under investigation in a perjury or obstruction case. But Mr. Fitzgerald's attempt to introduce the Espionage Act and the Intelligence Identities Protection Act at this stage, given the lengths to which he went to exclude any consideration of the underlying non-crime during the trial, is Kafka-esque.
Another reason to throw out the use of "Special Prosecutors."

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