Will Libby, Libby, Libby Get The Slammer, Slammer, Slammer?

Shortly after three o’clock this afternoon, I was working at my desk.  The telephone rang.  I answered it.

Scooter: Tom, this is Scooter Libby.
Tom: The Scooter Libby who was convicted in federal court today?
Scooter: What other Scooter Libbys do you know, Tom Collins?
Tom: I don’t remember.
Scooter: Come on, Tom, I was found guilty on four out five counts this morning.
Tom: Well, that’s only eighty percent as bad as it could be, isn’t it?  You’re going to appeal your convictions, I assume?
Scooter: First we file a motion for a new trial.  Then we appeal.
Tom: Of course – that’s what anybody would do.
Scooter: There was obviously something wrong with the jurors, Tom.  I mean, my lawyer is Ted Wells, Tom!  Ted Wells!  Ted Wells is a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison!  The National Law Journal selected Ted Wells as one of the greatest defense lawyers in the United States – Ted Wells is famous, Tom!  My attorney, Ted Wells, is a very famous lawyer!  Ted Wells went to Harvard Law School!  Ted Wells wears ten-thousand dollar suits, he wears four thousand dollar pairs of shoes!  His shirts cost twelve hundred bucks!  His cuff links cost thirty three hundred, each!  His watch cost fifty six grand!  His tie cost eight hundred dollars, for God’s sake!  Ted Wells charges eighteen hundred dollars an hour, Tom!  What’s the matter with those jurors – don’t they know that when a defendant hires a lawyer like that, he’s supposed to be acquitted on all counts?
Tom: I’m not sure.
Scooter: Well I am.  And I’m certain I’ll get a new trial.  What about those jurors showing up in red T-shirts with white hearts on Valentine’s Day? 
Tom: I don’t remember that.
Scooter: How could you not remember that?  It was all over the media.
Tom: I have had a lot of things on my mind lately.  Even if I did see the story, I must have forgotten about it.
Scooter: Well, it happened, Tom!  Eleven of the jurors showed up wearing red T-shirts with white hearts on them for Valentine’s Day.  You can take my word for it.
Tom: Must I?
Scooter: Yes!
Tom: Okay.
Scooter: And then there was the juror who got dismissed for inadvertently exposing herself to inappropriate information concerning the trial after deliberations began.
Tom: I don’t remember that.
Scooter: How could you not remember that?  It was all over the media.
Tom: I’ve been very busy lately.  I think I probably missed that, but if I didn’t, then I’m sure I’ve simply forgotten about it. 
Scooter: Well, she did.  She was some kind of museum curator or something.  Those people are almost always liberals.  It’s clearly a case of political motivations.  But anyhow, there were only eleven people on the jury that convicted me, not twelve.  That can’t be fair, can it?
Tom: I don’t know, I’m not a lawyer.  You’re a lawyer, aren’t you?
Scooter: Oh.  That’s right, I am.  Things have been so hectic and crazy lately, I forgot that.
Tom: It happens to the best of us.
Scooter: Well, anyway, then, during deliberations, the remaining jurors sent out a note asking the judge to define “reasonable doubt.”
Tom: I don’t remember that.
Scooter: Trust me, it happened!  If they don’t know what “reasonable doubt” is, how can they convict me?
Tom: I can’t say, I’m not a constitutional scholar.  You’re a constitutional scholar, aren’t you?
Scooter: Oh.  That’s right, I am.  Things have been so hectic and crazy lately, I forgot that.
Tom: It happens to the best of us.
Scooter: You know what was wrong with those jurors?
Tom: What?
Scooter: They were too damn educated, that’s what!  You get some ignorant working-class blue-collar types on a jury, they have the common sense to look at Ted Wells and realize that Mr. Libby here, he deserves to get off on all charges, what with having a lawyer like Ted Wells representing him.  But that jury was full of people with college degrees and managerial jobs inside the Beltway.  They were too sophisticated to just do the patriotic thing, take one look at my lawyer, Ted Wells, and decide to acquit me on all counts – oh, no, these jurors were too good for that!  They wanted to hear all the testimony!  They wanted to review all the facts!  And I saw them, – they took notes, Tom, real notes; not doodles like the jurors in the O.J. Simpson trial did.  No, these jurors took real notes – in paragraph form!  That case should never have been tried in the District of Columbia!  
Tom: Sounds like selection of that venue was a government maneuver…
Scooter: Exactly!
Tom: … a completely legal maneuver, conducted by United States attorneys, to enhance the government’s chances of convicting a person accused of violating federal laws.  It happens every day.
Scooter: Is that supposed to be funny?
Tom: I have no doubt that certain people are laughing this afternoon.
Scooter: I certainly hope you don’t think this situation is funny.
Tom: I can’t recall, at this particular point in time, whether or not I have a sense of humor; nor can I venture any opinion as to, if I do indeed have a sense of humor, whether I would find the current circumstances amusing.
Scooter: Let me get to the reason I called you, Tom.  Just in case I can’t get a new trial and the Appellate Court doesn’t go my way and the Supreme Court either declines to hear my case, or it does and won’t overturn the convictions, I’m going to need a pardon from President Bush.  Now, the only time George W. Bush promised he would pardon me if I didn’t get him and Dick indicted over all this, you were there.  So, besides Dick Cheney, you’re the only witness to George’s promise to pardon me if I can’t get off on these charges in the courts.
Tom: I’m sorry, but I don’t remember that.
Scooter: Tom!  You’ve got to be kidding me!  It was last year during the holidays – I called you and asked you to come on down to the Vice Presidential Mansion on Massachusetts Avenue.  You and I met with Dick Cheney and discussed what strategies were open for me to get acquitted for allegedly lying to federal investigators about that mess concerning tips to the news media that Valerie Plame Wilson was an undercover CIA agent, which George and Dick got us into trying to get back at her husband Joe for exposing that stuff George, Dick, Karl Rove, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Armitage, you and I made up about Saddam Hussein buying uranium from Niger.
Tom: I don’t recall making anything up.
Scooter: You must remember when I said that we needed to make up that stuff, and the stuff about the biological weapons and the stuff about the aluminum tubes for weapons-grade fissile material production and all that other stuff we made up because Saddam had to go down, no matter what; because the ends justified the means.  And you nodded your head when I said that, Tom – “because the ends justify the means.”  And then you said you thought that sounded reasonable enough under the circumstances – “reasonable enough under the circumstances” – those were your exact words, Tom.
Tom: Are you saying that I made that last remark at a meeting during the 2006 holidays with you and Dick Cheney at Number One Observatory Circle?
Scooter: No, no!  You made that last remark back in 2002 when we hired you to prepare fictitious pretexts to invade Iraq.  You made it at a meeting with the President, Paul Wolfowitz, Karl Rove, Richard Armitage, Dick, and me at the White House.  Karl agreed with me, too.  You both did.  So did Cheney, the President, Armitage and Wolfowitz.
Tom: Thank you for the clarification.  I don’t recall that meeting, either, however.  Nor do I recall ever saying those things, or signifying, as you allege, to you, Vice President Cheney, President Bush, Karl Rove, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Armitage or anyone else, anywhere, ever, in the manner described, that I assented to, or approved of any scheme, plot, program, or mutual interpretation of reality pertaining to the fabrication of foreign policy, military or economic pretexts for the invasion of the Republic of Iraq or any other foreign country.
Scooter: Dag nab it!  Tom Collins, you were there in 2002, and you agreed with me, and you said so!  And what’s more, you went right to work inventing effective prevarications so the Administration could hoodwink the American public and as many of our allies as possible into believing that Saddam Hussein presented a clear and present danger to the international community in general and the United States of America in particular.  And as I recall, we paid you quite a bit of money to do it, too!
Tom: I don’t remember anything of that nature, whatsoever.
Scooter: How about when Cheney said that he thought it was his patriotic duty to pressure the CIA to send the White House findings that were consistent with the stuff you made up for us, whether those findings matched the facts on the ground in Iraq or not?  Are you saying you weren’t at a meeting with Cheney, Wolfowitz and me in January 2003 where, when Cheney said that, he looked at you and you said “all the scenarios I have proposed have plausible deniability up to the point when the allied forces take Baghdad?”
Tom: Sorry, I have no memory of that having happened.
Scooter: How about when Cheney said that it was in the best interest of the American people for me and Rove to lie to Colin Powell so Powell would go to the United Nations and be totally sincere when he told the General Assembly and the Security Council all the stuff you made up for us?
Tom: I don’t recall ever being in any meetings with Dick Cheney during which he said that.  As a matter of fact, I don’t remember ever having met with Dick Cheney or you concerning anything at all.
Scooter:  Tom Collins, are you denying that it was you who helped George Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Armitage and me make up those things that we used as excuses to invade Iraq?  Are you denying that every one of those lies, except the aluminum tubes thing, were your ideas?  And that even with the aluminum tubes, it was you who formulated the strategy that we used to discredit the critics from the International Atomic Energy Agency who said the tube construction and alloy were totally unsuitable for use in a bomb grade diffusion plant?
Tom: Sorry, I really don’t remember any of that.
Scooter: And have you also forgotten that you tried to talk Dick out of having me leak Plame’s CIA connection to the press, because, as you said, “that’s a completely retarded idea that serves no purpose other than petty political revenge and could potentially get Scooter sent to prison?”  And that Dick said, “that’s why I’m the Vice President of the United States you’re just a consultant – I have the sack and the sand to see the big picture and think outside of the box.  When George appointed me the head of a panel to search for a running mate, I did what a man like me would do – I recommended myself as the best choice.  That’s sack, that’s sand, that’s seeing the big picture and that’s thinking outside the box, Collins; and that’s why we’re going to neutralize Wilson by outing his wife as an undercover CIA operative.  Now shut your wiseacre mouth, unless you can think of some good ways to agree with me.  I’m no ordinary Vice President, everybody knows that I’m in the driver’s seat – I run the show; I always have – George is nothing but a trained chimpanzee as far as I’m concerned.  If I say we rat Plame out to the press, then it happens!”
Tom: I cannot remember ever having met with Vice President Cheney under any circumstances whatsoever, much less recall Mr. Cheney ever having uttered those words.
Scooter:  How can you say that?  You were the one who pointed out that if all else failed, President Bush could always just pardon me, like Ford pardoned Nixon for the Watergate break-in; or Clinton pardoned all those people for lying to the government, smuggling drugs and illegal aliens, laundering money, bribing judges, fraud, embezzlement, forgery, income tax evasion and racketeering.  And then, Cheney got President Bush on the phone, and he put it on speaker so you and I could hear, and President Bush agreed that, if I got convicted of anything and couldn’t get out of it on appeal, then he, President George W. Bush, would pardon me.
Tom: I can’t say as I recall hearing that.
Scooter: You have got to be kidding me!  You were there, right there with me and Dick Cheney, listening to George W. Bush promise me, on speaker phone, that he would give me a presidential pardon for all that stuff I was accused of!
Tom: If this meeting took place, and Vice President Dick Cheney was there, then he should be able to verify the President’s promise to you.
Scooter: That’s the problem, Tom!  Why do you think I’m talking to you right now?  Because the first thing I did after I got convicted this morning was call Dick Cheney!
Tom: So Dick Cheney remembers the meeting at the Vice Presidential Mansion during which President Bush promised you a pardon over the speaker phone?
Scooter: No!  He does not!  He says he can’t remember ever attending any such meeting or ever hearing any such a promise, anywhere, anytime!
Tom: So that makes two of us – Dick Cheney and me, who cannot recall ever having attended any such meeting at Cheney’s official residence, or, in my case, anywhere on the face of the planet Earth; nor can either of us remember ever hearing President Bush promise you a pardon.
Scooter: Then you and Cheney are lying!  You were both there, with me, and we discussed a presidential pardon!
Tom: Something is puzzling me here.  Why didn’t you call Dick Cheney as a witness at your trial?
Scooter: Because Dick said not to worry about it, that should I get convicted of anything, just appeal it; and if the appeal didn’t overturn the conviction, bump it up to the Supreme Court; and if the Supreme Court doesn’t take care of it, President Bush will pardon me.  How would Cheney testifying to that during cross examination have helped me?
Tom: I must admit, you do have a point there.  But if you sincerely believe that President Bush promised you a pardon, then what have you got to be worried about?
Scooter: I’m worried about you, Dick, George, Paul, Karl and Richard all pretending that this whole pile of road apples is my doing, that’s what I’m worried about!  Leaving me to twist slowly in the wind!
Tom: So why didn’t you call me as a witness?
Scooter: Because if I did that, it would be an admission that neither I, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Paul Wolfowitz or Richard Armitage has the intelligence or imagination to required to come up with a decent bunch of lies that can lead the country into war for no other reason than our own bloodthirsty wishes to do so!  It would be telling the whole world that not only is the US Civil Service so lame, it’s members can’t wipe their own butts without contractors to do it for them, the elected officials of the Executive Branch and their appointees are even lamer than that!  And nothing you could testify about would disprove the government’s allegations against me, either – and your cross examination would get Rove, Wolfowitz and Armitage indicted; and probably get Bush and Cheney impeached!
Tom: So, is that what Dick Cheney said when talked you out of calling me to testify?
Scooter: Yes!
Tom: So why complain to me about something Dick Cheney talked you out of?
Scooter: Tom Collins, you’re nothing but a flint-hearted mercenary with iced purple Perrier water in your veins!
Tom: I’ll take that as a compliment.  So, why didn’t you testify in your own defense?
Scooter: My attorney, Ted Wells, advised against it.
Tom: Why?
Scooter: Well, my entire defense was based on the premise that I can’t remember things.  So all I could do if I testified would be to either say that I can’t recall who I told what or what I told them or even if I told them anything, or else tell what I remembered, which might have turned out to be damaging to my defense upon cross examination.  Or something like that.  I don’t remember exactly why I didn’t testify, actually.  But that doesn’t matter now!  The fact remains that I’ve been convicted of lying about something that turned out not to have really been a crime in the first place!  So even if I did lie about this non-crime Armitage or Rove or somebody did not commit, which, in any event, I don’t remember doing, I would have been participating in a cover-up for something that wasn’t a violation of the law.  How can a person lie in order to participate in a conspiracy to cover up something that isn’t illegal?  This has been a totally ludicrous miscarriage of injustice!  You know damn well that I can’t do thirty years in prison!
Tom: Nobody can, Scooter.  But you’ll probably do less than five.  First offence and all.
Scooter: And where am I going to get eleven and a half million dollars to pay the fines?
Tom: I guess the government will confiscate everything you have on the outside and deduct the fair market value from your fines.  Then they’ll garnish your wages for rest of your life after you get out on parole.
Scooter: I know that!  It was a rhetorical question!  The point is, I’ll be ruined!  My family will be ruined!  They’re going to lock me up with bank robbers, kidnappers and narcotics kingpins.  They’re going to strip search me – full body cavity, gloves and all – three times a day.  I… I can’t take that.  I need you and Dick Cheney to tell the truth about the President’s promise to pardon me.
Tom: Tell who?
Scooter: The press!
Tom: What, now?
Scooter: No, no, only if he doesn’t pardon me.  You have to promise me, if that happens, you will tell the press you heard him promise me that he would!
Tom: Maybe you’re getting carried away by the stress of this situation and aren’t thinking rationally.  You are aware, of course, that George W. Bush has made plenty of promises he didn’t keep; and, furthermore, there is no penalty for not keeping promises, particularly if one is a politician.  And last time I checked, that’s what George W. Bush is – a politician.  So, if you believe he promised you a pardon, I recommend you just continue on under that assumption, because if he doesn’t pardon you, having me or Dick Cheney or the Man in the Moon tell the press we heard him promise you a pardon isn’t going to make an ant hill’s worth of difference.
Scooter: Yes, it will!  Promise me you’ll tell the press that the President promised me a pardon if he doesn’t give me one!
Tom: I’m afraid I can’t do that.  Not only do I not recall any of the things you are talking about, I don’t even know how you got my telephone number, nor why you are calling me about these issues.
Scooter: What!  I’ll see to it that you never work in this town again!
Tom: I doubt the opinion of a convicted felon will have much influence on my business.  Anyway, I can only conjecture that this is some kind of mistake, somebody’s idea of a joke, or that I am conversing with a drunk or possibly insane person claiming to be Scooter Libby.
Scooter: I am Scooter Libby!  Don’t you recognize my voice?
Tom: I don’t recall ever meeting Scooter Libby, neither do I recall ever hearing his voice in a news broadcast or in any other situation.  Consequently, I do not know if the person I am talking to right now is Scooter Libby or someone else impersonating him.  As a matter of fact, I seem to have forgotten what I was discussing with you, whoever you may be.
Scooter: We were talking about… about… What the hell… I can’t remember what we were talking about, either.  Who is this?
Tom: This is Tom Collins.
Scooter: Okay, right.  And, uh, why did I call you?
Tom: I can’t remember.  Who is this?
Scooter: I’m… I’m… God Lord, I seem to have forgotten my own name.
Tom: Want to call back when you remember it?
Scooter: Ah, sure.
Tom: Have a nice day.
Scooter: Uh-huh; goodbye.

I hung up the receiver and went back to work.  It was, I thought to myself, as if nothing at all had happened – just, for some unknown reason, when I glanced back up at the clock, it read three thirty-five.