Libby Juror Said Panel Wondered: 'Where Are These Other Guys?'

ByABC News via via logo

March 7, 2007 — -- I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was once Vice President Dick Cheney's closest adviser.

Now he faces the possibility of up to 25 years in prison for lying and obstruction in the CIA leak investigation.

The jury in the case -- made up of four men and seven women after one juror was dismissed -- had to wade through an ocean of evidence before reaching a guilty verdict in the trial.

Juror Denis Collins said that, overall, the panel had sympathy for Libby as person.

"Someone on the jury said he [Libby] was taking one for the team," Collins said today on "Good Morning America." "I think that was definitely the feeling."

The jury concluded that Libby had lied to FBI agents and a grand jury investigating who had leaked the identity of Valerie Plame, a formerly covert CIA officer.

Jurors believed the prosecution's argument that Libby had lied to cover up a campaign by the White House to discredit former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, Plame's husband, who publicly had cast doubts on one of the administration's main reasons for going to war in Iraq.

Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said the verdict had cast a dark cloud over the vice president's office.

"I think the jury looked at the context of the entire case, and the context of the entire case was shaped by the vice president," said Michael Levy, a former federal prosecutor.

Collins said it was clear to the jury that Libby had been "sent out" to talk to reporters about Wilson and Plame.

"The defense said in effect he was putting his neck into the meat grinder," Collins said.

The jury also heard testimony that former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Bush adviser Karl Rove were behind the initial leak to reporters about Plame's identity.

Collins said that was a source of frustration for the jurors.

"I can only say that three or four times during this trial someone would say, 'What are we doing here? Where are these other guys?'" he said.

Cheney released a statement saying that he was "very disappointed with the verdict" and that he was "saddened for Scooter and his family."

Collins told "GMA" that he could only imagine Cheney was not very happy about the verdict this morning.

"I know from all we saw and heard Mr. Libby was very dedicated to the vice president," Collins said. "Someone told us he spent more time with the vice president than his wife and family."

Libby was stoic when the verdict was read, and his defense attorney, Ted Wells, vowed to appeal.

The White House did not comment on a possible pardon for Libby, saying such speculation was extremely premature.

Though this trial is wrapped up, the legal fight for the Bush administration is only beginning. The Wilsons have filed a lawsuit against not only Libby but Cheney and Rove.

Collins said that if there was any positive message to be taken away from the trial, it was the dedication of the jury. The members of the panel were "meticulous," he said.

"We had a big job to do," Collins said. "Several people took this task as seriously as they had anything in their life. So I would hope the message is, 'Hey, this is what a jury does.'"

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