Watch For “Memory Lapse” Defense From Libby, Rove


The indicted I. Lewis Libby and Karl Rove, who is hoping to avoid criminal charges, are pursuing a similar strategy to prove their innocence in the CIA leak case: claiming memory lapses, not lies, reports the Washington Post. Libby, indicted Friday on five counts of lying and obstructing justice, contends that any misleading information he gave a grand jury or federal investigators was the result of a hectic schedule and foggy recollections. A ource close to Rove said President Bush’s closest adviser stands ready to provide prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald with anything else he needs in the days ahead, and remains optimistic an indictment is not forthcoming. Rove expects a decision soon.

To prove he did not lie, Libby will contend it is plausible that a high-level staffer juggling important issues could forget how he first learned a key piece of information. His attorney cited Libby’s involvement in a “hectic rush” of issues “at a busy time of our government.” Another possible defense is that it makes no logical sense for a person as smart as Libby to engage in a pattern of lies and then encourage reporters to testify to investigators, as Libby did when he freed journalists from confidentiality agreements. Victoria Toensing, a former Justice Department official, said, agreed, “My basic factual argument would be that he had nothing to hide, so why would he say things he did not need to say?” she said.


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