He’s hired himself some very high priced attorneys to defend him in his Valerie Plame-outing trial that started yesterday.
As someone who used to practice law, I’m pretty familiar with just how much these lawyers get paid — we’re talking close to $1,000 an hour!! (Not that I ever made that much!)
So with all that high-powered advice, I’m surprised that the best they can do is what I like to call the Steve Martin defense — quoting from a great Saturday Night Live bit:
“What do I say to the tax man when he comes to my door and says, ‘You have never paid taxes?!’ Two simple words. Two simple words in the English language: ‘I forgot!’ “
Libby’s team of attorneys are screening potential jurors on whether they believe it is possible that people can forget things or that you could think you remembered an incident a certain way and still be mistaken.
I’d like to be there in the courtroom when Libby takes the stand and invokes Martin’s comic words in his defense — “Who told me about Valerie Plame (the CIA agent who was outed, putting her life and the lives of her young children in danger)? Your Honor, I forget.”
Yup, that’s apparently the best defense that Libby has.
When he told the grand jury that he learned of Valerie Plame’s name from Tim Russert of Meet the Press, and the fact that she was a CIA agent who just happened to be married to their arch nemesis of the moment, Joe Wilson, he just conveniently “forgot” that his boss, the VP, Dick Cheney had actually given him that information at least a month before (when and who Libby learned the information from being crucial elements in the outing episode).
Now, I’m the first one to admit that as I’m marching through my 40s, my memory ain’t what it used to be. So if Scooter told me that he didn’t recall what he had for dinner last Saturday night, that’s something I would believe. Heck, I can’t remember what I had for breakfast this morning!
But I just can’t buy his story that he was soooo busy when Cheney, the man Scooter Libby was willing to fall on his sword for, told him about Plame and Wilson that that would have just slipped his mind when prosecutors questioned him.
From a legal perspective, the old “I don’t recall at this time” defense is the defense of last resort. You can almost never prove that someone forgot something, so your bases are usually covered in terms of no perjury claims later, because you could have a sudden moment of enlightenment later and, voila, recovered recollection!
I do believe, however, Libby could and would conveniently “forget” (wink-wink) an important piece of information if the purpose of such absent-mindedmess was to keep the U.S. Attorneys from getting to the Prez or the VP.
Circling the wagons to keep the arrows from hitting the commanders? They do it all the time — I almost forgot!