In a statement on the Libby verdict today, John Kerry said that it is “well past time for Vice President Cheney, who according to the testimony was protected by Scooter Libby’s lies, to finally acknowledge his role in this sordid episode.” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former Chief of Staff, was “convicted today of lying to F.B.I. agents and grand jurors investigating the unmasking of a C.I.A. operative amid a burning dispute over the war in Iraq.”
The jury rejected Mr. Libby’s claims of memory lapses as it convicted him of obstruction of justice, giving false statements to the F.B.I. and perjuring himself, charges embodied in four of the five counts of the indictment.
The N.Y. Times reports that Libby “could theoretically face more than two decades in prison, but as a first offender he will almost surely get a much lighter penalty.” Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald, has acknowledged that “no further charges are expected in the case,” and “no further investigation was planned.” Senators Kennedy and Reid called on Bush to “not pardon Libby,” as noted in my previous post,” yet, as Kerry points out in his statement, clearly Dick Cheney was involved in this whole mess. Where’s the accountability?
Kerry’s full statement on the Libby verdict is as follows:
“This verdict brings accountability at last for official deception and the politics of smear and fear,” Kerry said. “This trial revealed a no-holds barred White House attack machine aimed at anyone who stood in the way of their march to war with Iraq. It is time for President Bush to live up to his own promises and hold accountable anyone else who participated in this smear. It is also well past time for Vice President Cheney, who according to the testimony was protected by Scooter Libby’s lies, to finally acknowledge his role in this sordid episode.
“I also want to thank the jury and the prosecutor for their hard work in this case.”
CNN reports that Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson will “fight on” for justice and a statement from the attorneys representing Plame and Wilson said “the couple was pleased by the verdict and believed justice had been served.”
But the Wilsons said they would continue to pursue a civil case against Cheney, Libby, Bush political adviser Karl Rove and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.
“The criminal trial was about whether or not Mr. Libby obstructed justice and committed perjury by lying to FBI agents and the grand jury about the fact that he had disclosed to reporters that Valerie Wilson worked for the CIA.
“The civil suit, on the other hand, hinges on whether or not the defendants violated the constitutional rights of Valerie and Joe Wilson by making those disclosures in a concerted effort to retaliate against Joe Wilson for revealing the falsity of the president’s rationale for the Iraq war,” the statement said.
Kerry’s initial statement on Libby’s indictment back in late October 2005, is available here.
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