The perjury trial of Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff Lewis “Scooter” Libby is not exactly Jarndyce and Jarndyce, the case in the Charles Dickens novel Bleak House, which ruined everyone who came near it and dragged on for so long that people forgot what it originally had been about.
But it could ruin Libby’s life and Patrick Fitzgerald’s reputation, and it already feels like a kind of relic. The rationale for Libby’s trial steadily has evaporated since his indictment more than a year ago, but it still goes on.
Fitzgerald has proved himself the most clichéd of Washington types — the out-of-control special prosecutor. Such is human nature that almost no one has the strength to resist losing all sense of proportion once he has been loosed on the world as a special prosecutor, free to pursue any supposed violation of the law — no matter how peripheral — to the ends of the earth. Two events have highlighted the injustice of Fitzgerald’s prosecution.
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Plamegate: As Patrick Fitzgerald tries to put Scooter Libby in prison for having a faulty memory, his witnesses seem to have trouble with their own recollections. Some of their memories, like fine wine, improve with age.
If you told an FBI investigator that you had a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch last Friday, and a receipt turned up showing you had a ham sandwich instead, could you be indicted for lying to a federal investigator? Special prosecutor Fitzgerald seems to think so. In his world, both you and the ham sandwich could be indicted.
Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff has been indicted on charges of lying to federal investigators who were trying to figure out who “leaked” the identity of former CIA desk jockey Valerie Plame Wilson.
Never mind that her identity was already widely known, as was the identity of the real “leaker” or that even if it wasn’t, revealing it was not a crime because she was not a covert operative overseas as the law requires.
More from INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILYVice President Dick Cheney, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Patrick Fitzgerald, FBI, Valerie Plame Wilson.