Mar 15, 2007

The BBC Rocks..!

and rolls.

MSNBC Video - Worst: 'Fair and balanced' - Countdown with Keith Olbermann

BBC - Profile: US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald
In his blog, "From the Desk of Patrick J. Fitzgerald", Mr Fitzgerald describes himself as a long-time opponent of corruption, listing among his interests rugby and "prosecuting evil doers". "I grew up in Flatbush, kept my nose clean, went to law school," he says.
"Now that I am in Chicago and D.C. I have found... the rampant graft and corruption to be a travesty - a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham."
[Note: This story was updated at 0809 GMT on 16 March, 2007, removing three quotes mistakenly attributed to Mr Fitzgerald. We regret the error.]

Those enterprising British journalists! A
profile of Patrick Fitzgerald posted on the BBC's Web site yesterday linked to, and quoted from, what it described as the Very Special Prosecutor's blog: "In Chicago and D.C. I have found . . . the rampant graft and corruption to be a travesty -- a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham."
Yeah . . . you guessed it. The blog? Not really his. "I think it is widely recognized to be a parody," said the prosecutor's spokesman Randy Samborn, adding that Fitz, sadly, does not have a blog.
Oh, and the hilarious "travesty of a mockery" line? A quote from Woody Allen's "Bananas."
The BBC, in profiling Patrick Fitzgerald yesterday, quoted from what it said was the Special Prosecutor's blog: "Now that I am in Chicago and D.C. I have found... the rampant graft and corruption to be a travesty - a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham."The Washington Post this morning, pointing out that the quote is obviously from Woody Allen's "Bananas" and the blog itself is, of course, a fake.
The Post's Reliable Source reports that a profile of Patrick Fitzgerald posted on the BBC's Web site yesterday quoted from what it said was the prosecutor's blog: "Now that I am in Chicago and D.C. I have found ... the rampant graft and corruption to be a travesty—a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham." The line is actually from Woody Allen's Bananas and the blog is, of course, a fake.
The Reliable Source ladies report that the BBC was had by a fake Patrick Fitzgerald blog.
"Many of the posts by the anonymous writer of From the Desk of Patrick J. Fitzgerald are witty, thoughtful and, it turns out, so good that it has left some convinced that Fitzgerald actually wrote the blog. For the latter point thank the BBC, which profiled the U.S attorney in a story on its Web site. It’s a fine profile, even if it pulls quotes from the fictional blog in the mistaken assumption that the blog has been penned by the real Fitzgerald. See the BBC story here."
"With the conclusion of the Libby case, From the Desk of Patrick J. Fitzgerald closed. If you didn’t follow this blog, it’s important to note that, for its humor, this writer was on a mission. It included criticisms of press coverage as well as respect for what Fitzgerald set to accomplish. The BBC gaffe adds a period to the point. In a note, the writer of the blog offered a reaction:
My apologies to the BBC for fooling them too…I always thought the Brits had a higher aptitude for dry wit.
Isn’t reporting factual information the number one rule of journalism? This not so flattering oversight by the BBC only reinforces the point made repeatedly on this blog: to a large degree the MSM was complicit in the selling of the War in Iraq by both their actions and inaction.
During the investigation and throughout the trial, the true colors of many publications and reporters became glaringly apparent — partisan, factually incorrect, sloppy and some might say corrupt.
If not for Joe Wilson’s Op-Ed and Fitzgerald’s investigation, the American public may never have learned this glimmer of truth on how this Administration repeatedly lied, deceived and then tried to hide the truth of why it went to war with Iraq.
This goes way beyond the sixteen words in the State of The Union Address. This is also about the millions upon millions of words not written and tough questions never asked by the media. I hope there are many lessons learned from this.
Countdown to BBC srubbing story from website … t - minus…”
Randall, nice save! I could have been fired over this, thus ruining my current visit in Ireland. I have a bottle of Jameson with your name on it, buddy! And who is Woody Allen? ;)


Mar 7, 2007

What A Long Strange Trip Its Been...

Epi-prologue ;)

"We're all going back to our day jobs." - Patrick J. Fitzgerald - March 6, 2007

From the Desk of Patrick J. Fitzgerald story began as a blog experiment in
October 2005, shortly after the Grand Jury handed up an indictment against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Now, after 18 months and 1512 posts -- this one being 1513 (a small irony in itself) -- it's time to say goodbye.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." - Martin Luther King Jr.

I was inspired to develop a creative outlet to channel my passion for truth, justice and the American way as well as my affinity for humor, political satire, and
groundbreaking investigative journalism. I also wanted to shine a light on good government -- the open, honest and accountable kind -- in a country where the Bill of Rights and Constitution are revered and adhered to; where a zero tolerance for graft, corruption and evildoers are dealt with justly, quickly and efficiently...a country where fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives.

"I guess they can't revoke your soul for trying." - Grateful Dead

This forum quickly morphed into a seemingly never ending blog session fueled by the worst political and corporate scandals of our time all wrapped up in the 109th Congress and the White House. In a nutshell, everything that is wrong with the Bush Administration - its war, its policies, and its total disregard for the truth, was discussed ad nauseam on this little old blog.

"Do you have what it takes for a career in public service?" - PJF

During this process, I have developed a deep and profound respect for Team America and the thousands of other overworked, underpaid and underappreciated dedicated public servants throughout our government, military, and NGO watchdog groups. That includes scores of citizen journalists, bloggers and the many, many visitors and regulars to this blog who have had the courage to speak out, stand up and fight the good fight in this all important battle to protect our freedoms, liberty and Republic.

Who is this "Fitz?"

And finally, as to the inevitable question as to who I am? Who? Who is but the form following the function of what, and what I am is a person behind a blog. Beneath this blog there is more than flesh. Beneath this blog there is an idea...and ideas are bulletproof. People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments
should be afraid of their people.

My answer is this...From the Desk of Patrick J. Fitzgerald was an idea...and he was my father. And my friend. He was you...and me....He was all of us.

Merry Fitzmas, Peace, Love, Cheers and

You -TIME 2006 Person of the Year ;)

P.S. "Nothing can come of nothing." - Shakespeares and a hoaloha.

As to an never knows what the future may hold, but it includes the proverbial "spend more time with my family" because I have observed that they grow up as quickly as I age, and there was a very special person in my life....who never fully understood my time spent on this pupule blog with "online phantoms" -- to her
I can only say I am sorry (cue Willie Nelson song) and quote her favorite poet, W. S. Merwin...
Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

Kiki, e kala maioe iau.
Ko Aloha Makamae E Ipo.
Aloha No Au Ia 'Oe. Ho'i Hou Ke Aloha.
A hui hou.

The Post-It On His Back Read "Kick Me..?"

The Fall Guy

"The trial was not a satisfying end to the leak case. Fitzgerald's mission was not to discover the whole truth of the saga and reveal all to the public (as he pointed out when speaking to reporters today). He was on the hunt for a crime--and for criminals. He ultimately concluded he could not prosecute the leakers--Rove, Libby, and then Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage--for having disclosed information regarding Valerie Wilson. (The law prohibiting government officials from intentionally revealing information about clandestine intelligence officials requires a prosecutor to prove the leaker knew the officer was undercover.) So his criminal investigation focused on whether Libby lied. (He also investigated Rove for having possibly lied to the grand jury but ultimately decided not to indict him.) Consequently, only information from his investigation related to the Libby cover-up became public. What else Fitzgerald uncovered remains a secret. And per the rules governing criminal cases, it will stay a secret, he told reporters.

After the verdict was delivered, only one juror, Denis Collins, a Washington Post reporter in the 1980s, spoke to the press. He noted that jurors more than once asked, Why was Libby here, not Rove, not someone else? "Where are these other guys?" he said. The jurors were convinced, he noted, that Libby was guilty as charged (on four of the counts). But the jurors also believed he had been ordered by Cheney to talk to reporters as part of the White House's spin operation. In other words, some White House wrongdoers or conspirators (if not conspirators in the strict legal definition of the word) had gotten off. But there was nothing the jurors could do about this, he said: "It was not a question of who we could punish about going to Iraq." What about the prospect of a presidential pardon? one reporter asked Collins. Will you feel cheated if Bush pardons him? No, Collins replied: "He's been pilloried. We found him guilty." (Conservatives have already started a campaign for a Libby pardon.)

Scooter Libby, once Cheney's top aide and one of the chief architects of the Iraq war, is now a criminal. He is the first White House official convicted of a crime since the Iran-contra scandal that tarred the administrations of President Ronald Reagan and the first President Bush. He is also a symbol of an administration that has lost credibility. How Bush and Cheney misrepresented the case for war and their disingenuous and dishonest post-invasion assertions about the war are more serious matters than the lies of the leak case. But the leak affair represents how this White House has done business and how it has mugged the truth. Libby is not only a fall guy for Cheney; he's a poster-child for the Bush administration. The guilty verdict applies only to Libby, but the guilt extends beyond." <

Cheney's Henchman Gets His
Scooter, I will lend you my hand if you want to roll over.

Let's Be Frank...

U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald at the top of his game.

A federal jury Tuesday convicted Lewis "Scooter" Libby in the CIA leak, perjury trial. The conviction of Vice President Dick Cheney's former top aide is the latest in a remarkable string of courtroom victories Patrick Fitzgerald, the US attorney in Chicago. He was named special prosecutor in the CIA case. ABC7 investigative reporter Chuck Goudie has more on Fitzgerald's amazing track record in this Intelligence Report.

Patrick Fitzgerald grew up playing an often bloody game called rugby. During rugby games, opposing players swarm over the ball and fight for possession in what is known as a scrum. For the last four months, Fitzgerald has been in Washington, in a legal scrum, and his competition has been some of the top criminal defenders in the nation. At the center of the scrum: the truth about the vice president's chief of staff. Tuesday afternoon, Fitzgerald emerged with the ball.

"Any lie under oath is serious. Any prosecutor would tell you in my days in New York, in my current days in Chicago, that we cannot tolerate perjury. The truth is what drives our legal system. If people don't come forward and tell the truth, we have no hope of making the judicial system work," said Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. special prosecutor.

Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is at the top of his game. Tuesday, he led the team that beat Scooter Libby's defense. After Fitzgerald's four year investigation, five month trial and 10 days of deliberations, Libby was convicted of one count of obstruction, two counts of perjury and one count of lying to the FBI about how he learned the identity of CIA official Valerie Plame and who he told.

Ron Safer is a former federal prosecutor in Chicago and now a top criminal defense lawyer. Despite Tuesday's conviction, an embarrassment to the Bush administration, Safer told the I-Team he thinks Fitzgerald will be U.S. attorney in Chicago through the rest of the Bush presidency but not to look for him ever as attorney general.

"He would be happy going back to being an assistant U.S. attorney," said Safer.

Fitzgerald proved that Libby learned about Plame from Vice President Dick Cheney, who counted Libby as his most trusted adviser. Libby then discussed her name with some reporters and concocted a story to cover-up those discussions when he realized that he was a target.

"I do not expect to file any further charges. Basically the investigation was inactive prior to the trial. I would not expect to see any further charges filed," Fitzgerald said.

"I was somewhat surprised to hear that and somewhat disappointed to hear that," said Safer. "The investigation was obstructed to some extent, as the jury found today, but that's not the nub of the case, and unfortunately they never got to the nub of the case."

When Pat Fitzgerald gets back to Chicago -- probably by car, he prefers to drive -- he will find a full plate on the desk of his office where he frequently dines and sleeps, starting with the Conrad Black/Sun-Times fraud trial, and then the Operation Family Secrets mob murder and rackets case.

The prize Fitzgerald would really like is leftover from his days as a terrorism prosecutor in New York: Osama Bin Laden.

And see President Bush keep his word and fire those responsible.


Mar 6, 2007


I am almost a household name, but Team America deserves all the credit!

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Thank You...




We Have A Verdict...


Watch for me on Fitz-TV.
Is my tie straight? ;)

Jury convicts Libby

Oh Canada..!

A breeze of fresh air and intelligence from our friends and neighbors to the north.

Prosecutor driven to 'do right thing' (always)
The man prosecuting Conrad Black has been called a 'runaway prosecutor' as well as 'totally and completely non-partisan'

The public face of the U.S. government's criminal case against former Canadian media baron Conrad Black is an earnest, middle-aged workaholic with a photographic memory and a relentless drive "to do the right thing."

Patrick Fitzgerald, 46, was a quietly effective crime-fighting government attorney when, in 2003, he was plucked from the U.S. Attorney's office in Chicago and appointed special counsel in charge of a criminal investigation into the disclosure of classified information involving the identity of a Central Intelligence Agency operative.

The former doorman, deckhand and janitor, who earned degrees in mathematics, economics and law, soon made a national name for himself challenging the American establishment, including the White House, senior Washington reporters and a former Illinois governor.

"He's driven by principles and dedicated to making sure that people who commit criminal violations, regardless of their place in society, are going to be aggressively and fairly prosecuted, so that no one is going to get a special break," says Robert Kent, a former U.S. assistant attorney who worked with Mr. Fitzgerald for five years.

His critics, however, have branded him a zealot and a "runaway Chicago prosecutor," in the words of conservative columnist William Safire, because of his relentless pursuit of reporters during his prosecution of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former chief of staff for U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney, on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.

Born in 1960 in Brooklyn, N.Y., Mr. Fitzgerald and his three siblings were raised by Irish immigrants in a devoutly Roman Catholic family. A member of the debating team at his Jesuit high school, he earned tuition money for college by working as a doorman at a residential building on Manhattan's Upper East side, and as a deckhand on commuter ferries in New York Harbour.

Mr. Fitzgerald graduated from Amherst College in 1982 with a bachelor's degree in math and economics, and from Harvard University in 1985 with a law degree. Upon graduation, the six-foot-two former rugby player worked for three years as a litigation associate at New York law firm Christy & Viener.

In 1988, Mr. Fitzgerald became an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Manhattan, a hard-scrabble turf where he spent most of his time prosecuting narcotics trafficking, murder, racketeering and organized crime. In 1993, he participated in the six-month trial against the Gambino crime family that resulted in a guilty plea.

It was during his time in the Manhattan office that Mr. Fitzgerald developed a reputation for simplifying complex information and unearthing obscure laws to get jury convictions. In 1995, for example, he was one of the U.S. government lawyers who participated in the nine-month trial of a blind Egyptian cleric and 11 others in the World Trade Center bombing. Mr. Fitzgerald relied on a rarely used law dating back to the U.S. Civil War era to convict them.

In the years following that trial, Mr. Fitzgerald was named chief of the organized crime-terrorism unit at the Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. He was instrumental in the prosecutions of Osama bin Laden and 22 others suspected of carrying out the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in three African cities.

"He is totally and completely non-partisan," says Peter Fitzgerald (no relation), a former Republican senator from Illinois who nominated him for State Attorney in 2001. "He's not seeking higher political office. He doesn't want a lucrative partnership at a major law firm. He just wants to chase after the bad guys."

Echoes Mr. Kent: "He is hardworking and determined to do the right thing as he sees it. In the justice-versus-the-mercy continuum, he's closer to the justice end of it."

Apparently, when Mr. Fitzgerald was first approached about the job in early 2001, he thought it was a joke because these appointments are typically awarded to politically connected lawyers. He isn't active in politics; in fact, he is registered as an independent.

"We have a long, rich history of political corruption in Chicago," Peter Fitzgerald says in an interview with the National Post. "I wanted someone who was independent of the politics of the state, independent of politics entirely, and I really wanted someone who was good."

Mr. Fitzgerald moved from his New York condominium to become the top federal law-enforcement official in Chicago, the third-largest city in the United States. Appointed by President George W. Bush on the former senator's recommendation, he was named U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois 10 days before 9/11.

"I wanted to nominate someone who wouldn't use the power and authority of the office either to prosecute someone unfairly or protect someone from being prosecuted unjustly," Peter Fitzgerald recalls.

The new prosecutor didn't disappoint. Early into his tenure, Mr. Fitzgerald's office launched an unprecedented crime-fighting crusade against corruption in Illinois. Although he rarely argues cases in court, Mr. Fitzgerald's charges have successfully prosecuted former Illinois governor George Ryan on bribery charges and associates of former Chicago mayor Richard Daley on mail fraud and corruption.

At an annual salary of about US$140,000, Mr. Fitzgerald presides over a staff of more than 300, including 137 assistant U.S. attorneys (25 designated to civil cases and 112 to criminal) who investigate and litigate bank embezzlers, violent criminals, white-collar fraud, corruption and drug trafficking. His district cuts a wide swath across 18 counties along the top of the state, covering a total population of about nine million, about one-quarter of Canada's total population.

The meticulous civil servant with the wide boyish face and receding hairline rarely speaks to journalists -- he declined to be interviewed for this article -- except during press conferences. A bachelor who works killer hours and avoids receiving mail at his home for security reasons, Mr. Fitzgerald makes no apologies for his style.

"As a prosecutor, you have two roles: Show judgment as to what to go after and how to go after it. But also, once you do that, to be zealous. And if you're not zealous, you shouldn't have the job," Mr. Fitzgerald told a Washington newspaper during a rare interview in 2005.

Every year his office pursues an average of 700 cases, an increase that has been rewarded with more resources by the Justice Department. In 2005, Lord Black was only one among the 1,247 defendants indicted in 697 cases launched by Mr. Fitzgerald's office that year.

Canadians got their first look at the Chicago prosecutor two years ago during press conference, when he coolly walked through flow charts outlining the complicated corporate web of Lord Black's companies.

"Conrad Black should thank his lucky stars that Patrick Fitzgerald is not personally prosecuting his case," Peter Fitzgerald tells the Post.

Instead, he will be supervising on the sidelines while a hand-picked team of four assistant U.S. attorneys argue the case against the former media baron and his business associates Peter Atkinson, Jack Boultbee and Mark Kipnis. The U.S. government team is led by Eric Sussman, a 37-year-old who has been with the Justice Department for eight years and previously practised at Sidley Austin LLP, the sixth-largest law firm in the United States. (It once boasted the widow of Abraham Lincoln as a client.) Mr. Sussman, the father of two young girls, is said to share his boss's zeal for public service and his punishing work ethic.

Federal agents from the U.S. Postal Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service are also working on the case against Lord Black.

Regardless of the outcome in the case against the former Canadian press baron, Mr. Fitzgerald's fortunes have likely already been decided. Because they are political appointments, U.S. Attorneys usually remain in office as long as those who appointed them. So, Mr. Fitzgerald's expiry date could coincide with that of President Bush in 2008. If that happens, most expect the veteran civil servant to climb to a higher rung inside the U.S. justice system.

Today Or Tomorrow...

at the latest, IMH and professional opinion.

I call it "clarification" from a conscientious jury performing their civic duty in a thorough manner. Bully!

The Madness of Patrick Fitzgerald
Sifting through the nonsense that is the Scooter Libby trial for and by idiots

Mar 5, 2007

Walk, Don't Run...

The post from Firedoglake below reminds me of a story I often tell young prosecutors. ;)
“Two U.S. Attorneys, one a very special prosecutor and the other a young and eager legal eagle, are standing on top of Capitol Hill and looking down at a herd of evildoers on Pennsylvania Avenue stretching as far as the eye can see -- all the way to the White House.
Randall says, 'Hey Fitz, what do you say we race down there and convict one of those evildoers?' And Fitz says, 'No, Randy, let's walk down there — and convict them all.'”


It was my impression in the courtroom (and MSNBC confirms, based on courthouse sources) that there are three new separate questions, all about Count 3, the Cooper false statement charge.

At one point, I believe Walton said (and others who heard it confirm that this was their impression as well) that the jury has reached a unanimous decision regarding the fact that Libby lied. Walton had issued some instruction, however, that they need to decide that he lied on October 14th and November 26th dates (both FBI interviews), but now says he should have used the word "or" instead of "and" — i.e., if the jury all agrees that Libby lied on either of these dates, they have reached a unanimous guilty verdict. (The indictment itself says "and.")

However, there seems to be some confusion — do they all agree on one date, or do some agree on one and not the other? Thus the defense and prosecution are arguing about language to use before they present it to the judge.

We only got 5 minutes warning about the hearing. I was standing at the door to the court when the prosecution came barelling down the hall. I pulled open the door and just stood back. In retrospect, I think they knew when they got the question that they had him.

I watched Scooter throughout the proceeding. No smiles now. He seems to have moved off into appeal land. Mrs. Libby was not in the courtroom, but was standing outside the overflow courtroom when we came out into the hall.

We won't know the contents of the questions until tomorrow, but we'll be back in the courtroom at 9:30 am. Looks like we might be getting close.

Talkleft -- New Jury Note

Online Petition For V. P. Cheney's Healthcare...

Please make your mark in comments demanding that Vice President Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney receive ALL of his current and future medical care at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, DC.

Spread the thread...

So Easy A Caveman Could Prosecute It...

Did Libby's Lawyers Botch His Case?

BREAKING NEWS: Dick Cheney has a blood clot...developing.

Best wishes and a speedy recovery to you, Mr. Vice President. AMERICA SUPPORTS YOU - just steer clear of Walter Reed Hospital... I think more than few people would hate to see you miss your day in court.

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Happy Monday..!

everyone take a deep breath, relax, and be mellowwwwwwwwwww.
As the ad used to say, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life."
Make it a great one and week.

Two Questions

Two Questions: Part Two

Two Questions: Reggie Responds

Mar 4, 2007

March Comes In Like A Lamb...

Dead-eye Dick loses grip in wind of change

"Nobody truly knows what goes on between the vice-president and president of the United States. That’s how they like it, after all. They have a weekly lunch session alone, with no aides and no notes taken.

It’s the ultimate power lunch. They never publicly disagree. The only time they did — over the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages and civil unions — Cheney got a pass because his daughter is a lesbian, now expecting a child. But the lack of public disagreement has not prevented Washington from constant chatter about the real state of affairs. And the evidence we’re getting is that Cheney is far from the influence he once was."

Cheney's world of illusion
If Dick Cheney were anything less than vice president, you'd have to wonder if the judge in the Lewis "Scooter" Libby trial would have let him leave the country. During closing arguments, prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald made it clear that he believed Cheney's chief of staff perjured himself to cover up his boss's role in "outing" CIA agent Valerie Plame.

As some of you have noted, Judge Walton released a whopping 48-page opinion explaining his evidentiary decision-making in the trial. I think he did so for two reasons. First, his clerk, who has been involved in this case from the start, had his last day Friday. By getting all this on paper now, Walton makes sure that the clerk who worked with him on these rulings works with him on the opinion.

But it also lays out where we might be heading for the appeals process. After all, in the very first days of this trial, Ted Wells said we were "probably … maybe" going to be arguing these issues after the trial. If the Lead Defense Counsel thinks an appeal (and therefore some convictions) are probable, then the judge might well take note and prepare for it.


Mar 3, 2007


quite a few gems today.

In other news, it was all just a little misunderstanding....

White House Backed U.S. Attorney Firings

Mar 2, 2007

No News Is Great News...

NY Tabloid - Jury Leaves Few Crumbs as it Takes Recess

National Catholic Weekly - The Libby Trial - Oy!

HuffPo -
The Guilty Verdict: What Next - Pardon me?

WaPo -
Libby Jury Seeks Clarity For 'Unreasonable Doubter'

American Thinker, Clarice Feldman, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Byron York, FOX News, Tony Snow: Eerily Silent

Have a great weekend. I'll return after the full moon...maybe...a few years ago I once disappeared for 9 days and nights. ;)

Elementary Note Passing - TGIF...

Judge Reggie Walton Is Such A Sweetheart...

that they should name a candy bar after him.

Libby judge issues memo outlining reasons behind decisions on evidence - cowardice of defense

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The judge in the criminal trial of Lewis "Scooter" Libby is making it clear for the historic record that he thought the defendant would take the stand, and that the presumption figured strongly into his decisions about classified material he would have allowed into evidence.

U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton also suggests the defense could have improved the prospects for acquittal of their client had they called Vice President Dick Cheney to the stand.

The jury has deliberated eight days so far on a five-count indictment against Libby, Cheney's former chief of staff.

Walton's comments were made in a "memorandum opinion" written to "memorialize" the basis for some of his decision-making during the trial. Although somewhat unusual, the written record elaborating on bench discussions may help an appeals court explore his decisions should any jury verdict be challenged.

First Jason Leopold, Now The Wilson's...

I need an agent! ;)

Plame film in works at Warner Bros.
Studio sets movie about CIA leak scandal


"Fitz's Dominoes..."

[click image to enlarge]

Thank you, Stephen!


Daze Of Family And Roses...

you've earned it.

Prosecutor of Ryan, Sorich taking new job
Asst. U.S. Attorney Collins: 'I've given it all I've got'

While dining at the world-famous Charlie Trotter's restaurant, he sat down and asked for a cheeseburger.

Stunned, the chef came out of the kitchen to see who would place such a humdrumorder.

It was Patrick Collins, a star prosecutor in the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago.

"I'm not a guy for fancy food," Collins said.

That might sum up Collins, who in his 12 years as a prosecutor often went up against the elite, took down the powerful, but kept his feet on the ground, colleagues said.

Collins, the lead prosecutor in the conviction of former Gov. George Ryan, announced Thursday he will join the Chicago office of Perkins Coie LLP, based in Seattle. Collins will join as a partner in the firm at the end of this month.

"I've had a wonderful ride. I'm sad to leave, there's no doubt," he said. "I've given it all I've got."

'28 years' worth of work'
Collins, 42, helped lead the Operation Safe Road investigation, which took dozens of unqualified truckers off the highways and exposed widespread corruption in driver's licensing facilities. Last year, he led two complex, high-profile trials that ran back to back: those of Ryan and of Mayor Daley's patronage chief, Robert Sorich.

"Patrick is as close as you come to irreplaceable," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said. "He's very smart, very dedicated, very hardworking, and he just knows how to make a case.

"He's worked here for 12 years. He's probably done 28 years' worth of work."

The decision to make the switch to the private sector was a struggle for Collins. He won over trial juries with a sincere, down-to-earth but meticulous style.

He argued his cases alternately with light humor and zeal. He once told a nun who took the witness stand it was every Catholic schoolboy's dream to cross-examine her, leaving jurors chuckling.

In closing arguments for the Ryan trial, Collins exploded with raw anger over what he called layers of hidden corruption in the secretary of state's office.

"He doesn't try to be someone he's not," Fitzgerald said. "He's just himself, Patrick Collins. I think juries see that. He's very genuine."

Collins, who also headed the successful Hired Truck probe and the continuing investigation into City Hall hiring, said 2006 took its toll.

"My family's been through the wringer. This last year was probably more than I should have done," said Collins, a father of three.

The Ryan and Sorich sentencing hearings were probably the toughest part of his job, he said. "I've never liked sending people to jail. That stuff wears on me."

Money only one factor
While other law firms tried to court Collins and his prized trial expertise, he chose Perkins Coie, he said, because of the kind of work the firm has accomplished, including that on behalf of Guantanamo detainees. For the last five years, Fortune magazine has rated Perkins Coie one of the 100 best companies.
Collins, who has a strong charitable side, having founded Horizons for Youth, a not-for-profit youth group, said he'll do some pro bono work at the firm. The Chicago native will primarily handle complex commercial litigation and internal investigations for corporations like Starbucks.

"Patrick is one of the best trial lawyers in the country," Chicago managing partner Christopher Wilson said.

Collins said money was a factor in his departure, but not the only reason. The average U.S. prosecutor makes less than $150,000. New law firm associates make $145,000, and top partner salaries can reach the multiple millions, said Karen Hoppe, legal consultant with Credentia Inc.

During Patrick Collins' tenure in the U.S. attorney's office, he helped lead some of the highest-profile investigations in Chicago:

• Operation Safe Road: 75 convictions, including former Gov. George Ryan, businessman Lawrence Warner and Ryan's chief of staff Scott Fawell.

• Hired Truck: 38 convictions, including city Water Department chief Donald Tomczak and city Clerk James Laski.

• City Hall hiring scandal: Mayor Daley patronage chief Robert Sorich and three others convicted at trial last year. Probe continues.

• In 12 years, Collins tried 20 cases, leading 16 of them.

Patrick, words cannot do justice to the debt of gratitude owed to you for your hard work, dedication and service to your country over these past 12 years. Thank you.
Now, as only your friend, instead of delivering guilty verdicts, the only thing I expect of you is to deliver hugs, kisses, and unconditional love to your family 128 hours a week. ;)
They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.


Mar 1, 2007

"Th-th-th-that's All Folks..!"

Mouse House Scores - Pix Fix Trix For Flix...

News Junkie optioned by mega-family values studio...hush hush on the QT.

"Required reading for aspiring journalists." -- Publishers Weekly

"I love this book. When other U.S. reporters were licking Ken Lay¹s loafers, Leopold went for Enron¹s thieving throat. Leopold is...a journalist who insists on real investigative reporting, inside documents, inside sources, hard knife-in-the-gut evidence, detective-style reporting that is just about illegal in the U.S.A. Every journalist in America should read this, then quit or riot." -- Greg Palast, author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

"Having told the truth for years as a first-rate reporter, Jason Leopold now comes completely clean about himself and also sheds light on his imperiled profession. A riveting account of just how hard the truth can be." -- Mark Crispin Miller, author of Cruel and Unusual: Bush/Cheney¹s New World

"News Junkie provides the best account so far of how, and why, current American journalism has become so pharisaical, spineless, and detached from the truth." --T.D. Allman, journalist and author of
Rogue State, Unmanifest Destiny, and Finding Florida

"...written with all the energy of a 21st-century "Junkheap" Woodward & Bernstein." -- Dazed & Confused

"...malicious and disgraceful..." -- Mark Corallo, Spokesman for Karl Rove, on Jason Leopold

Congratulations, Jason! It couldn't happen to a nicer, more dedicated or talented "junkyard" reporter than yourself. Your work is a Touchstone for the truth. -- Patrick (the J. stands for "Junkyard") Fitzgerald


The Beginning Of Something Big..?

the beginning of the end - new recruits, front and center!

Team America is good, very good!
But the search for truth and justice in America could be merrier if the Fighting 110th Congress declared a War on Graft, Corruption & Evildoers...
Get busy with those hearings!

P.S. Still sealed on Pacer

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Weather It Makes A Difference...

only time will tell.

All-Star Lineup Of Journalists To Champion Sunshine Week ‘07

Tom Brokaw, Ben Bradlee and Judy Woodruff will make the case for open government in public service announcements produced by the Radio & Television News Directors Foundation for Sunshine Week, March 11-17.

The 30-second messages will be distributed to television and radio stations across the country to highlight the importance of protecting public access to government information. RTNDF’s participation is supported by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

“The hallmarks of a great democracy include government transparency and accountability,” said RTNDF president Barbara Cochran. “Sunshine Week gives us an opportunity to engage the public in advocating for openness and resisting restrictions on government information. News organizations serve as watchdogs on behalf of the public and during Sunshine Week television and radio stations can let the public know about important stories that would go untold if access is blocked.”

The audio PSAs are now available to be downloaded through the
RTNDA web site.

Freedom of Information and U.S. Journalism Change are serious issues that need serious solutions. Al, any room left on your plate?

On a side note: I ran into Judy Woodruff a few weeks back in the take-out line at Chicken Out in Spring Valley. We chatted a bit - she is a both charming and gracious, dedicated to truth and lots of side orders. ;)

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Dan Froomkin - Signs Of Life...

in the search for intelligent life forms at the Washington Post.
Palo Alto, Calif.: Love your work. Thanks for taking my question. Considering the fact that Cheney has been exposed by testimony in the Libby trial as a liar -- and time proves he is just plain wrong -- why is his opinion ever asked or printed?

Dan Froomkin: It takes an awful lot for the media to decide not to pay attention to the (first or second) most powerful man in America.

In fact, even I wouldn't suggest he should be ignored. I think that everything he says should be reported -- it should just also be put in context. And refuted, when it is obviously contradicted by the evidence.

As I wrote (perhaps somewhat hopefully) in my January 29 column, The Unraveling of Dick Cheney: "While Dick Cheney undoubtedly remains the most powerful vice president this nation has ever seen, it's becoming increasingly unclear whether anyone outside the White House believes a word he says."

But that was written in the wake of Cheney's very combative and bizarre interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN. Since then, the wave of media skepticism, such as it was, may have receded again.

Cleveland: Dan, please talk about the Libby trial -- why do you think it is taking so long? What about the dismissed juror? Thanks.

Dan Froomkin: That would be pure speculation on my part. But OK.

1) I think the longer the jury takes, the worse for the prosecution. What the prosecution wants is for the jurors to get together and say: OK. Especially in a case where the defense didn't actually put up a competing narrative -- they're hoping for one or more jurors going: But wait a minute...
And yet it's a complicated case and both sides asked jurors to look over the evidence carefully, so I'm not sure it's really been that long yet.

2) The juror who was dismissed (and I'm dying to know the details of why) was also the one juror who refused to wear a red T-shirt on Valentine's Day. I think the dismissal of a potential lone wolf/holdout juror is good for the prosecution.
But you really shouldn't have encouraged me to speculate.

Brooklyn, N.Y.: Hi Dan - In your column and elsewhere, there has been speculation about two possible directions after the Libby trial (assuming he's found guilty, of course): a pardon from the President, or a "flip" that would make him a prosecution witness against the VP and others. Which option (assuming he has a choice) do you think would be more beneficial to him?

Dan Froomkin: More beneficial to Libby? A pardon, undeniably.

Typically, a pardon in a controversial, political case comes with a downside: The relentless opprobrium of the media. But as I've pointed out many times, the media elite has no love for this case, and would probably welcome a pardon. The bloggers, and certain columnist/bloggers, would flog the issue for a while, but that would pass, I'm afraid.

Baltimore: Wow, it just seems that the more time passes the less stable and grounded-in-reality the VP appears. Dan, If Fitzgerald is successful in the Libby case do you feel that he will then go after Cheney? Thank you for your answer.

Dan Froomkin: I think there is an outside chance, as Murray Waas has reported, that if Libby is found guilty, Fitzgerald will try to "flip" him and turn him into a prosecution witness against Cheney.

There's little doubt that Fitzgerald thinks Cheney was at the heart of this matter. (See my Feb. 21 column, The Cloud Over Cheney.)

But it's also clear that at least thus far, Fitzgerald has lacked either the political will or the evidence to charge Cheney, or both, and I'm not sure either of those will change.

For example, I can't see Libby flipping if that means he loses the support of all those people who've been contributing millions to his defense fund -- which one observer has called legalized hush money.

Lone Juror: I didn't realize that. Is it possible she accidentally-on-purpose watched some news coverage to get out of uncomfortable jury deliberations ?

Dan Froomkin: Who knows? If I had to guess, I would say she might have been doing a little research ... which is not OK.

Huaraz, Peru: On February 16 and 17 The Post published two major opinion pieces, by Rich Lowry and Victoria Toensing, both defending Scooter Libby and criticizing his prosecution. Do you think this was appropriate, considering the jury was about to hear closing arguments and begin deliberations?

Dan Froomkin: I found those two pieces (and I believe you mean Byron York and Victoria Toensing) sadly reflective of the Washington media elite's contempt for this very important and eye-opening case.
I do not think it was an attempt at jury tampering...


Watching And Waiting...

No news...

Yes, the jury deliberates on Fridays...

They haven't been seen publicly, but there is speculation that they are in fact wearing clothes...

And late yesterday they requested another big post-it pad, construction paper, crayons, scissors, paste, modeling clay, yarn, altoids and Red Bull...your guess is as good as mine.

Email Kiss And Tell...

Black seeks to bar blinging e-mail evidence at trial

Conrad Black on Wednesday asked a federal judge to bar prosecutors from using 11,000 e-mails he exchanged with his wife as evidence against him at his nearing fraud trial.

"The law does not take kindly to in-court revelation of communications between spouses," Black's lawyers said in a three-page brief.

They said the government plans to use the e-mails to prove that Black knew that Hollinger International Inc., which he ran at the time, was paying for Barbara Amiel Black's shopping expeditions and other expenses.

Kimberly Nerheim, a spokeswoman for U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald, declined to comment Wednesday.

Black and three other former Hollinger executives are charged with looting $80 million from shareholders of Hollinger International, publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times and other newspapers. It is now called Sun-Times Media Group Inc.

Prosecutors also accuse Black of tapping shareholder funds for a two-week vacation in Bora Bora, refurbishing his Rolls Royce and other personal expenses.

Black and his co-defendants have pleaded not guilty. Jury selection is scheduled to start March 14 dashing any hopes for Patrick Fitzgerald getting a vacation anytime soon.

Also Wednesday, Sun-Times Media Group lost a bid in Ontario court to freeze Black's assets because the request is premature, a Canadian judge said.

The judge also rejected a request to interview the Blacks before a hearing on the freeze.
FYI, if you click the label/link "Conrad Black' it provides backstory information in this blog.