Wouldn’t it be sweet if Court TV was allowed to televise the Scooter Libby trial?
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.”
In his grand jury testimony, Libby said Cheney was so upset about Wilson’s allegations that they discussed them daily after the article appeared. “He was very keen to get the truth out,” Libby testified, quoting Cheney as saying, “Let’s get everything out.”
Cheney viewed Wilson’s allegations as a personal attack because the article suggested that the vice president knew that Wilson had discounted old reports that Iraq had tried to buy uranium yellowcake from Niger to build a nuclear weapon.
The prosecutor wants to use Cheney’s notes on the Wilson article to corroborate other evidence he has that Libby lied about outing Plame to reporters.
In a filing last week, Libby’s lawyers said Fitzgerald would not call Cheney as a witness and would have a hard time getting the vice president’s notes admitted into evidence at Libby’s trial, which is scheduled for January.
“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.”
The fact that Cheney’s notations included a reference to Wilson’s wife makes it “more likely than not” that the vice president and Libby discussed her shortly after Wilson’s article was published — and not weeks or months later as Libby told the grand jury, Fitzgerald wrote.
“He often cut out from a newspaper an article using a little penknife that he has and put it on the edge of his desk,” Libby testified, according to a transcript of the grand jury proceeding that Fitzgerald attached to his filing.
Libby testified that Cheney would pull an article out of the pile later and “think about it.”