CIA Leak Trial Jury in Deliberations

Defense Goes After Witness Credibility

The defense attempted to dismiss the core of the government's case by questioning Russert's credibility.

Libby defense attorney Theodore Wells focused on a stipulation the government agreed to concerning a Nov. 24, 2003, report by FBI agent Jack Eckenrode, which noted, "Russert does not recall stating to Mr. Libby anything about the wife ... although he could not rule out the possibility he had such an exchange. ... Russert was at a loss to remember it."

Wells then focused on what reasonable doubt means for the jury. "If you believe Mr. Russert beyond a reasonable doubt, my client's life will be destroyed. ... That stipulation is a reasonable doubt."

Wells called Libby's conversations with government officials "background" and asked the jury to consider that the government has not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

The defense ended their closing argument noting that Libby had "one of the highest stress jobs in the country," referencing the time period in 2003 when Libby was preoccupied with national security intelligence.

Wells became passionate and emotional, almost in tears in his closing, asking the jury to be fair to Libby. "This is a man with a wife and two kids. ... I gave him to you, just give him back to me."

The Prosecution's Rebuttal

In his rebuttal, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald discredited the defense argument that Libby didn't consider Wilson or his wife important by referencing separate notes Libby exchanged with a CIA briefer and Cheney that indicated otherwise.

Fitzgerald used a clipping of Wilson's New York Times op-ed on which Cheney wrote a handwritten note on to show that Libby thought it was an important issue. "His boss thought it was important," Fitzgerald said.

In his impassioned closing, Fitzgerald said of Libby, "There is no conspiracy ... no memory problem ... he had a motive to lie.

"He made up a story and he stuck to it. Aren't the FBI, the grand jury and the American people entitled to an explanation?" Fitzgerald asked the jury.

Fitzgerald closed, saying, "[Libby] obstructed justice. He took the truth from the judicial system."

During their deliberations the jury will have all of the evidence with them in their jury room except audio of Libby's grand jury testimony played during the trial. The jury can make a request to the judge to hear the audio. If convicted on all charges, Libby could face a maximum of 30 years in prison and $1.2 million in fines.

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