On Libby Trial - Stacy Schiff: "A Trial To Remember"

JP at Welcome to Pottersville has Stacy Schiff guest blogging for/from the Scooter Libby/Plamegate/CIA Spy Leak trial. Her first entry is here, and starts with some observations about the people who sit on - and were kept from being placed upon - the Libby trial jury:

Who knew that 12 angry Americans could be so easy to come by — and a jury so difficult to assemble? “It took us all day to get six jurors qualified,” Judge Reggie M. Walton lamented last Thursday, after a contentious afternoon of voir dire in the Scooter Libby trial. Judge Walton had hoped to have seated his panel by then; selection took twice as long as expected. Opening arguments are scheduled for today, not the sort of trailer you would normally run before a State of the Union address.

To some minds, a jury has not been the only thing missing from United States of America v. I. Lewis Libby. “In the most important sense, this is a case without a crime,” The Wall Street Journal reminded us over the weekend. An artful leap followed: “Yes, Mr. Libby is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice, which are serious offenses.”

It is true that what began as a search for a leak ended — after much collateral damage — with an indictment for a lie. At this juncture it can be difficult to grasp what, precisely, is on trial. Some of us seem viscerally to wish something else were. While the original investigation stemmed from the charge that a public official had provided accurate information to the press, potential jurors appear more eager to charge a public official with having provided false information to a country. It was, after all, Mr. Libby who drafted the 2003 masterpiece that Colin Powell presented to the United Nations, the one about Iraq’s fabled chemical and biological weapons.

Juror 0420, an economist, couldn’t help but say she thought the Iraq war “a tremendous mistake, a horrendous mistake, and a betrayal.” She could not promise to be objective about Dick Cheney, who is slated to testify.

Juror 0244 reported “strong negative feelings about this current administration and its conduct of the war.” He was gone in seconds.

Juror 1140 admitted: “I believe the vice president would have had the defendant leak.” Had she any preconceived notions? “Guilty.”