Sunday, October 30, 2005

Libby’s Defense Is A Crutch

If you can remember Iran-Contra, undoubtedly the biggest political scandal of the 1980’s, you’re doing pretty well in the cognizance department – just for being able to remember it. Many of the coaches and players of that scandal used a simple four-word defense when called on to testify:

“I do not recall.”

That’s also the tactic “Scooter” Libby’s defense team seems to be dusting off to counter his five indictments for his role in Plamegate.

Libby’s lawyer, Joseph Tate, said in reference his client, “…a person's recollection and memory of events will not always match those of other people, particularly when they are asked to testify months after the events occurred."

The evidence against Libby is overwhelming, and special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is not easily smeared. Faulty recall is about all that’s left in the defense bag of tricks. And it’s not much of a defense.

Still, it’s useful because it’s hard to disprove. You can prove a person said or did something, but not that they remember saying or doing it.

So, we’re back to the old 80’s standby excuse. President Reagan couldn’t recall his involvement in Iran-Contra; the same year Austrian President Kurt Waldheim couldn’t remember being a Nazi Stormtrooper (typically the kind of thing you don’t forget).

Now Libby says he can’t remember what he said to whom, and when. That’s a bigger crutch than he’s using for his broken foot.

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