The jury deliberating the perjury and obstruction of justice case against I. Lewis Libby Jr. recessed for the weekend on Friday without reaching a verdict, but not before leaving an intriguing clue as to the state of deliberations.
The jurors sent a note with a question to Judge Reggie B. Walton, who is expected to respond on Monday when deliberations resume. In the note, the jurors asked for further explanation of the concept of reasonable doubt, suggesting possible uncertainty or even disagreement over the core standard by which they are to measure the evidence and testimony about Mr. Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.
“We would like clarification of the term ‘reasonable doubt,’ ” the note said. “Specifically, is it necessary for the government to present evidence that it is not humanly possible for someone not to recall an event in order to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt?”
The question suggested that at least some of the jurors are wrestling with the imprecise and often vexing definition of reasonable doubt, as well as how to decide whether a false statement should be attributed to faulty memory or willful deception, the issue at the center of the case.