Fleischer Feared Death Penalty in CIA Leak Case – Immunity Now Questioned

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:

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,

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.)


  • January 27, 2007 - 9:33 am | Permalink


  • big dave from queens
    January 27, 2007 - 9:36 am | Permalink

    The big fish in this case is Cheney.

    If the evidence shows that Cheney authorized this, then Cheney should be charged with treason and if found guilty by a fair and impartial jury, sentenced accordingly.

  • big daddy from texas
    January 27, 2007 - 9:50 am | Permalink

    Oooo….I can’t believe it! this neo con plotter was afraid he had gone too far! Well, in my opinion, he and the rest of the new American century plotters did go too far! the went out into the world to kick some ass and grab some power, and when the best system of checks and balances in the history of the west catches one of them between it’s pincers, it’s time to give it up and beg for mercy! what a coward! what a contemptable miserable excuse for a human being. if there is justice, he and all the rest of the rapers and pillagers of our planet will indeed have to pay. it is galling to me that this miserable chump may get out of paying for his cowardly acts, anyway. but for the defense lawyers to maintain that the reason he decided to turn on his gang should somehow affect the trial is flimsy, cowardly, shameful, and spineless. they should all have to pay for all the death and destruction they have caused (the neo cons(

  • Styve
    January 27, 2007 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

    What a goddam wimp, a true member of the neocon wimp brigade!! Bush and Cheney are the queens of the wimp brigade parade!

    Lethal injection would be too kind…let them swing and maybe do it Iraqi/CIA style…from 12 feet.

  • nikolai
    January 27, 2007 - 1:35 pm | Permalink

    OY! Poor widdle Ari, he’s a helpless little goy; Da schmuck! I hope they hang him by his peyot, the little gefilte-fenza!

  • eblogger
    January 27, 2007 - 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Maybe somebody will do something to impress Jodie Foster.

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