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Comments by YACCS
Friday, October 27, 2006

Ooops, about that defense


What am I, a clown to you?

Wapo: Fitzgerald Slices Up Libby Witness in Pretrial Hearing

Fri Oct 27, 2006 at 04:35:49 AM PDT

While we are all caught up with midterm elections, the wheels of justice are grinding slowly but relentlessly and Patrick Fitzgerald is sharpening his ginsu knife.

Yesterday, there was a pretrial hearing in Judge Walton's court on bringing expert witnesses on human memory and its failings.

Elizabeth Loftus, a UC-Irvine professor of criminology and psychology, was the expert witness at the hearing.

Libby's whole defense argument, if you recall, will rest on jumbled up memory and recalling events in wrong sequence or something like that. Well, the man himself cross-examined.

Wapo tells the story.


With withering and methodical dispatch, White House nemesis and prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald yesterday sliced up the first person called to the stand on behalf of the vice president's former chief of staff.

If I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was not afraid of the special counsel before, the former Cheney aide, who will face Fitzgerald in a trial beginning Jan. 11, had ample reason to start quaking after yesterday's Ginsu-like legal performance.

Loftus testified that her three decades of research showed that human memory has its limits and many potential jurors do not understand this.


But when Fitzgerald got his chance to cross-examine Loftus about her findings, he had her stuttering to explain her own writings and backpedaling from her earlier assertions. Citing several of her publications, footnotes and the work of her peers, Fitzgerald got Loftus to acknowledge that the methodology she had used at times in her long academic career was not that scientific, that her conclusions about memory were conflicting, and that she had exaggerated a figure and a statement from her survey of D.C. jurors that favored the defense.

You would think that Libby's multi-million-dollar lawyer team would prepare by reading the expert's writings, identifying potential trouble spots and preparing rejoinders to Fitz's potential questions. They apparently did none of that.


There were several moments when Loftus was completely caught off guard by Fitzgerald, creating some very awkward silences in the courtroom.

One of those moments came when Loftus insisted that she had never met Fitzgerald. He then reminded her that he had cross-examined her before, when she was an expert defense witness and he was a prosecutor in the U.S. attorney's office in New York.

I have a feeling this is going to end badly for Libby.



Damn. That's a thing of beauty to read on it's own. Fitzgerald grilled her like steak at a tailgating party. It was ugly when he finished with her.

posted by Steve @ 9:26:00 AM

9:26:00 AM

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