The Libby prosecution: a personal grudge?

Thomas Lifson
The Wall Street Journal's Opinionjournal.com carries a provocative editorial today, laying out a possible personal grudge that might help explain the peculiar prosecution of Scooter Libby by Patrick Fitzgerald.

Libby had been one of the lawyers for March Rich, the rogue trader of oil and much else, who was eventually pardoned by Bill Clinton in a notorious end-of-term round of questionable pardons.
Two of the prosecutors who worked on the Rich case over the years were none other than Mr. Fitzgerald and James Comey, who while Deputy Attorney General appointed Mr. Fitzgerald to investigate the Plame leak. Mr. Fitzgerald worked in the Southern District for five years starting in 1988, at the same time that Mr. Libby was developing a legal theory of Mr. Rich's innocence in a bid to get the charges dropped. The prosecutors never did accept the argument, but Leonard Garment, who brought Mr. Libby onto the case in 1985, says that he believes Mr. Libby's legal work helped set the stage for Mr. Rich's eventual pardon.
This might have been highly personal for Fitzgerald. The Journal tells us:
The pardon so infuriated Justice lawyers who had worked on the case that the Southern District promptly launched an investigation into whether the pardon had been "proper." One former prosecutor we spoke to described the Rich case as "the single most rancorous case in the history of the Southern District."
Fitzgerald may be like some prosecutors of the past who, when unable to pursue a straight-line path to a prosecution, go for a more circuitous route to a conviction. Nailing Al Capone on tax evasion when his other criminality could not be successfully prosecuted, to name a case with Chicago history to it.

One might also note that Fitzgerald is reported to be married to his job. No wife and kids, and an utterly workaholic-like devotion to his job. The courtroom attracts lawyers with a competitive streak, and it strikes me as quite likely that a very big catch like Rich, offering the possibility of going after even bigger catches if ever in custody, must have been a very tough loss.

The Fitzgerald prosecution of Libby is so flawed that one must wonder why it was ever pursued.

Thanks to Ed Lasky for sharing ideas for this post.
The Wall Street Journal's Opinionjournal.com carries a provocative editorial today, laying out a possible personal grudge that might help explain the peculiar prosecution of Scooter Libby by Patrick Fitzgerald.

Libby had been one of the lawyers for March Rich, the rogue trader of oil and much else, who was eventually pardoned by Bill Clinton in a notorious end-of-term round of questionable pardons.
Two of the prosecutors who worked on the Rich case over the years were none other than Mr. Fitzgerald and James Comey, who while Deputy Attorney General appointed Mr. Fitzgerald to investigate the Plame leak. Mr. Fitzgerald worked in the Southern District for five years starting in 1988, at the same time that Mr. Libby was developing a legal theory of Mr. Rich's innocence in a bid to get the charges dropped. The prosecutors never did accept the argument, but Leonard Garment, who brought Mr. Libby onto the case in 1985, says that he believes Mr. Libby's legal work helped set the stage for Mr. Rich's eventual pardon.
This might have been highly personal for Fitzgerald. The Journal tells us:
The pardon so infuriated Justice lawyers who had worked on the case that the Southern District promptly launched an investigation into whether the pardon had been "proper." One former prosecutor we spoke to described the Rich case as "the single most rancorous case in the history of the Southern District."
Fitzgerald may be like some prosecutors of the past who, when unable to pursue a straight-line path to a prosecution, go for a more circuitous route to a conviction. Nailing Al Capone on tax evasion when his other criminality could not be successfully prosecuted, to name a case with Chicago history to it.

One might also note that Fitzgerald is reported to be married to his job. No wife and kids, and an utterly workaholic-like devotion to his job. The courtroom attracts lawyers with a competitive streak, and it strikes me as quite likely that a very big catch like Rich, offering the possibility of going after even bigger catches if ever in custody, must have been a very tough loss.

The Fitzgerald prosecution of Libby is so flawed that one must wonder why it was ever pursued.

Thanks to Ed Lasky for sharing ideas for this post.