Judge Walton: Testimony by Cheney may have helped Libby's acquittal prospects
A memorandum issued by Judge Reggie Walton implies that testimony by Vice President Dick Cheney might have helped former White House aide I. Lewis Libby's acquittal prospects, CNN reports.
The jury was excused early today, but the trial will resume on Monday as Libby faces a five-count indictment, which includes lying and obstruction of justice charges related to the investigation of the outing of former CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson.
"The judge in the criminal trial of Lewis 'Scooter' Libby is making it clear for the historic record that he thought the defendant would take the stand, and that the presumption figured strongly into his decisions about classified material he would have allowed into evidence," CNN's Paul Courson reports.
According to CNN, Walton "also suggests the defense could have improved the prospects for acquittal of their client had they called Vice President Dick Cheney to the stand."
The jury was excused three hours early today after having deliberated for eight days so far. One juror was dismissed for viewing or reading outside coverage of the case, so only eleven men and women remain on the jury.
CNN adds that "Walton's comments were made in a 'memorandum opinion' written to 'memorialize' the basis for some of his decision-making during the trial."
"Although somewhat unusual, the written record elaborating on bench discussions may help an appeals court explore his decisions should any jury verdict be challenged," CNN reports.
The following footnote from page 29 of the memorandum refers to Cheney:
The defendant also had a number of other vehicles of presenting to the jury the nature and scope of his work responsibilities. In fact, during the defendant's case, John Hannah, the Vice President's current National Security Advisor, and formerly the defendant's deputy, testified about the nature and scope of the national security work the defendant performed during the critical dates of this case. And had he chosen to do so, the defendant could have also recalled David Addington during his case to testify about the scope of his responsibilities as Chief-of-Staff to the Vice President, a position also held by the defendant during the times pertinent to this case. Additionally, the defendant's former administrative assistant could have been called as a witness to discuss his daily schedule, and his calendars could have been introduced as exhibits to show the jury the demands of the defendant's daily schedule. Moreover, the defendant could have called the Vice President to testify concerning the issues he directed the defendant to address and upon which the Vice President expected the defendant would devote his time and attention.
MEMORANDUM PDF AT THIS LINK
FULL CNN ARTICLE AT THIS LINK