Men with the Courage of Their Convictions

From Pensito Review

Fleischer Feared Death Penalty in CIA Leak Case – Immunity Now Questioned
Posted by Jon Ponder | Jan. 26, 2007, 7:43 pm

Reporting from inside the courtroom in the CIA leak-related trial of Scooter Libby this week revealed that former White House spokesman Ari Fleisher sought immunity from prosecution because he was worried he might have committed treason — and even fearred he was in jeopardy of receiving the death penalty:

It turns out Ari Fleischer will be the next witness, once court resumes Monday [Jan. 29, 2007]. The defense team wants to note — for the jury’s benefit — that Fleischer demanded immunity before he would agree to testify, because this might cast Fleischer’s testimony in a different light.

And here Fitzgerald makes a nice little chess move: Fine, he says, we can acknowledge that Fleischer sought immunity. As long as we explain why. Turns out Fleischer saw a story in the Washington Post suggesting that anyone who revealed Valerie Plame’s identity might be subject to the death penalty. And he freaked. Of course, if Fleischer was this worked up about it during the time period in question, that suggests Libby would have been, too. (Which again undermines the notion that Libby had much bigger fish to fry.)

Can we extrapolate from this that the normally uber-unctious Fleischer was feeling a wee bit — what’s the word — guilty?

With the prospect of a lethal injecution put to rest, Fleischer spilled the beans. In particular, he told prosecutors that he learned Plame’s identity from Libby in the summer of 2003. Now Libby’s lawyers are now firing back, questioning the conditions of Fleischer’s immunity deal:

Defense attorneys are skeptical [and] are preparing court documents demanding to know exactly what Fleischer promised in exchange for immunity.

“I’m not sure we’re getting the full story here,” defense attorney William Jeffress said in court.

It is doubtful anyone will be charged with treason in this matter, even though it is clear that exposing the identity of a secret agent was the aim of this enterprise, and that it was done on direct orders from the vice president.

In any case, Ari can rest easy. He’s not going to fry. He’ll just have to live with being persona non grata among his former colleagues. (And he should probably buy a polonium detector.)


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