Saturday, February 17, 2007

York Explains Why SWNID Hasn't Commented on Scooter's Trial

We've been ignoring the closing act of Plamegate, as gentle readers may have noticed. One reason is that O. J. Simpson's case soured us on prognosticating about jury trials. But in WaPo, Byron York, whose full-time scribal duty is covering the White House for the estimable National Review, captures the bigger reason: Libby's trial is about an alleged act of perjury during testimony before a grand jury summoned to review the investigation of an act that the prosecutor now concedes was not a crime. The specific statement that is the real crux of Libby's alleged perjury is itself truthful if Libby did not think that a crime had been committed. Yet in the trial, this very point has been excluded from testimony and evidence.

In other words, Scooter seems to be on trial because at the time of his testimony he disagreed with the prosecutor about whether a crime had been committed, though the prosecutor now agrees with Scooter. And no one in the courtroom can talk about that.

We once thought that Patrick Fitzgerald, said prosecutor, might be the exception to the rule that special prosecutors, because of their specialness unfettered by the budgetary and oversight restraints governing ordinary prosecutors, might not be corrupted by absolute power. We now believe that he is not the exception that proves the rule but yet another sorry case of the rule in action.

So maybe it's good that American juries are unpredictable. In deliberations they can talk about whatever they please--even the truth.

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