A federal judge presiding over the perjury trial of Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff expressed doubt this morning about defense arguments that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was made a scapegoat by the White House. 2

A federal judge presiding over the perjury trial of Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff expressed doubt this morning about defense arguments that I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby was made a scapegoat by the White House.

A federal judge presiding over the perjury trial of Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff expressed doubt this morning about defense arguments that I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby was made a scapegoat by the White House in 2003 as the furor grew over the leak of a CIA officer’s identity to the media.

On the seventh day of testimony in Libby’s trial, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton said that argument was dramatically undercut by a key piece of evidence in the case — that former White House press secretary Scott McClellan, at Cheney’s direction, publicly exonerated Libby in the fall of 2003 of any role in leaking information about the officer, Valerie Plame.

“That Mr. McClellan did this because the requests were being made by Mr. Libby and the vice president’s office, it does undermine that there was this effort by the White House to sacrifice Mr. Libby,” Walton told attorneys for both sides after the jury had been excused during a morning session. “To my mind, there hasn’t really been any substantial evidence to suggest that [scapegoating] was in play.”

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