The Libby trial, or "anticlimax" defined

Libby's lawyer says neither Libby nor Cheney will take the stand.

By Tim Grieve
Published February 13, 2007 8:13PM (EST)

Scooter Libby's lawyer, Theodore Wells, has just told Judge Reggie Walton that neither Libby nor his former boss, Vice President Dick Cheney, will be testifying at Libby's trial.

Libby has the right to testify in his own defense, of course, but putting him on the stand would have meant subjecting him to cross-examination from Patrick Fitzgerald. Walton asked Libby whether he was sure he didn't want to testify. His answer -- and the only words he'll probably end up saying during the course of the trial: "Yes, your honor."

Wells told Walton that he talked with Cheney's lawyer over the court's lunch break and informed him that the vice president's testimony wouldn't be needed. As the Associated Press reports, Cheney might have been able to help make the case that Libby has a lousy memory or that he was consumed with things more important than the identity of Joseph Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame.

But putting Cheney on the stand also would have allowed Fitzgerald to delve deeper into the amount of attention the White House was paying to Wilson's claims about prewar intelligence -- and would have reminded 12 residents of the District of Columbia that the man on trial once worked hand in glove with one of the most unpopular figures in public life today.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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