Jury convicts Libby on obstruction, perjury, false statement

Cheney's former chief of staff is found guilty on four of five counts in the Valerie Plame case.

Published March 6, 2007 5:00PM (EST)

Scooter Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, has just been found guilty of obstructing justice, committing perjury and making false statements regarding the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame. Libby was acquitted on just one of the five counts he faced -- a charge that he made false statements to the FBI regarding a conversation about Plame he had with Time magazine's Matthew Cooper.

The verdict came on the 10th day of the jury's deliberations. Eleven jurors -- the 12th was dismissed after being exposed to press reports about the case -- found Libby guilty of 1) obstructing justice by lying to the grand jury about how he learned and whom he told about Plame; 2) making a false statement by lying to the FBI about a conversation he said he had about Plame with NBC's Tim Russert; 3) committing perjury by lying to the grand jury about his conversation with Russert; and 4) committing perjury by lying about his conversation with Cooper and other reporters.

As early as this morning, the jurors seemed to be struggling with the single count on which Libby was acquitted -- the false statement charge related to Libby's conversation about Plame with Time's Cooper. Cooper testified that Libby confirmed for him that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA; Libby told the FBI that he told Cooper that the administration had been hearing from other reporters that Plame worked for the CIA but that he didn't know whether it was true.

In questions for Judge Reggie Walton this morning, the jury asked 1) whether Libby was charged with lying to the FBI or lying to Cooper, 2) whether Fitzgerald was alleging that Libby did, in fact, know that Plame worked for the CIA when he spoke to FBI agents, and 3) whether, in reaching a verdict on count three, they could consider not just what Libby told the FBI but also what he told the grand jury.

Walton answered those questions just before 10 a.m., and the jury informed the court that it had a verdict soon thereafter.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 5, but Libby's attorneys are already asking for more time and will almost certainly appeal his conviction.

By Tim Grieve

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

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