The jury in the trial of former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby went home Tuesday without reaching a veredict in the Iraq-related case involving the leaking of a CIA operative’s identity.
The government says Libby lied to investigators to avoid being fired for leaking to reporters the identity of Valerie Plame, wife of a prominent critic of the Iraq war.
Libby’s lawyers claim he learned it from his boss, Vice President Dick Cheney, but forgot that and thought he heard it for the first time a month later from a reporter and then told other reporters he had heard it from reporters but could not confirm it.
Five dozen prosecutors, defense attorneys and reporters camped in the federal courthouse awaited the veredict for a fourth day.
The secrecy of jury deliberations provides precious few clues about where juries are headed.
“It isn’t like electing a pope, where there are smoke signals after each ballot,” said Edward B. MacMahon Jr., an attorney who defended Zacarias Moussaoui against charges related to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Sometimes a jury drops a clue by asking the judge to clarify a legal issue or to read them some testimony again. But Libby’s jurors have asked only for a large flip chart, masking tape, Post-it notes and photos of the witnesses ? interpreted as a sign they intended to methodically evaluate the trial’s 14 days of testimony and exhibits.
“This amount of time doesn’t mean anything. This looks like a pretty conscientious jury,” said MacMahon, who observed a day of the trial. “If it goes deep into next week, then you may start to think there may be some problems reaching a verdict.”