The courtroom was packed today and the theatrics did not disappoint. Patrick Fitzgerald came right out and said that Shooter had his dirty fingerprints all over the crime. As Marcy Wheeler at firedoglake noted in the liveblog:
There is a cloud over the VP. He wrote those columns, he had those meetings, He sent Libby off to the meeting with Judy. Where Plame was discussed. That cloud remains because the defendant obstructed justice. That cloud was there. That cloud is something that we just can't pretend isn't there.
I recognize that I'm somewhat predisposed to root for the prosecution, but really I don't see how anyone could have watched the proceedings today and come away with the conclusion that the defense was anything other than a chaotic mess. Marcy and I agreed that Wells sounded like he was a used car salesman trying to fob off a junker he had no faith in, and for my part I'm guessing that much of the defense was crafted by Scooter Libby calling up in the middle of the night and helpfully saying, "make sure you say this tomorrow, Ted."
At the end of his closing statements, Wells broke down in tears and begged the jury to "give Scooter back to me" (or something just as weird to that effect). He then returned to the defense table, head in hand, never to look up again. Some thought it was over-identification with the defendant, but I thought he was grieving his career -- this would be a big loss for him. He ate up 20 minutes of Scooter's precious time rebutting things that Zeidenberg had said about himself during the prosecution's closing statements, as if that mattered, and then left himself with little time to cover all the points he had left. In the end he was reading methodically from his own Power Point presentation. It all came off a bit unglued.
Everyone was punching each other to keep from falling asleep when Fitzgerald took to the floor and treated all to a bit of Shakespearean theatrics, yelling "madness, madness!" He was lacerating and precise, speaking so quickly that the court reporter couldn't catch up. His command of the material was a bit daunting, able to recall voluminous evidenciary document numbers simply by looking at some chart in his own brain. He wandered off into the weeds for a bit (demonstrating an eriposte-like knowledge of the history of the Niger uranium claims) before retreating to simpler ground for his closing. All the while, Wells never looked up at him, even as Jeffress was nervously rubbing his moustach and shifting in his chair.
At one point Fitzgerald started down a road I thought he wouldn't -- mentioning that Libby would most surely remember information regarding Valerie Plame because anyone would when there were lives at stake, identities that might be exposed. I expected Wells to leap out of his chair but he never took his head out of his hand, and Jeffres looked like he was about to have a conniption fit. As the second attorney on the case it wasn't his place to object, but even if Fitzgerald was on completely solid ground based on arguments that they themselves had opened up, at the very least they needed to stop his momentum. He had the jury in his hand at that moment and Wells was in a coma, so Jeffress timidly asked if they could approach the bench. Which Fitz did, but Wells did not. Fitz wound up backtracking a bit, emphasising that this went to Libby's state of mind and should not be considered a discussion of whether Libby leaked classified information because that's not what he was charged with. But during the chat with the judge, Libby leaned over and had a few words with Wells, and I'm only guessing here but most likely something along the lines of "this is what I get for my eight million bucks?"
Wells had pleaded with the jury to return Libby to him, but Fitz begged them to return the truth. "Don't you think the American people are entitled to answers?" he asked. The jury of nine women and three men were extremely attentive to him, and my general impression is that he was quite persuasive. I personally think Scooter has lost touch with reality here, but if there is any tangent left, he's not sleeping easily tonight.
Jane Hamsher blogs at firedoglake.com