How to save Scooter

Say who you are and how you know Libby -- and be nice to the judge.

Published March 26, 2007 4:51PM (EDT)

If you're planning to write Judge Reggie Walton a letter urging a light sentence for Scooter Libby -- you were, right? -- Libby defense lawyer William Jeffress has a few tips for you: Say who you are, say how you know Scooter and be nice to the judge.

As Al Kamen reports in today's Washington Post, Jeffress has written a letter in which he advises all you would-be Libby letter writers that it is "acceptable ... to express a view that Scooter's conviction for perjury and obstruction of justice is inconsistent with your knowledge of his character and integrity." Jeffress says it would be helpful to mention "how long, and in what context, you have known Scooter" and to tell the judge things about him "that relate to his public and private service and his qualities as a person, such as personal and professional integrity, helpfulness, generosity, commitment to his family ... good deeds, dedication to our country or the welfare of others."

What is "not acceptable"? Jeffress asks that you do your best not "to criticize the jury, the prosecutors, or the court, or to denigrate any person involved in the process including the witnesses."

That means no mention that the Justice Department considered Patrick Fitzgerald "not distinguished," and -- what a killjoy! -- no garden-variety bashing of Judy Miller. The good news for the more literary-minded letter writers among you? Jeffress doesn't mention any objection to cryptic messages about arboreal matters. So, how are the Aspens where you live?

By Tim Grieve

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

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