Reaction to Libby guilty verdict

Lewis "Scooter" Libby was found guilty of four of five counts of lying, perjury and obstructing justice.

    Libby was accused of lying under oath [AFP]

    Lewis "Scooter" Libby was found guilty of four of five counts of lying, perjury and obstructing justice. Here are some reactions to the verdict:

    Nancy Pelosi, US House of Representatives speaker: 

    "This trial provided a troubling picture of the inner workings of the Bush administration.

    "The testimony unmistakably revealed - at the highest levels of the Bush administration - a callous disregard in handling sensitive national security information and a disposition to smear critics of the war in Iraq."

    Dana Perino, White House spokeswoman:

    "The president was informed. He was in the oval office. He saw the verdict read on television ... he said that he respected the jury's verdict.

    "He said he was saddened for "Scooter" Libby and his family ... Any administration that has to go through a prolonged news story that is unpleasant and one that is difficult when they're under the constraints of a policy of [not commenting on ongoing legal proceedings], that can be very frustrating."

    Harry Reid, Senate majority leader:

    "I welcome the jury's verdict. It's about time someone in the Bush administration has been held accountable for the campaign to manipulate intelligence and discredit war critics.

    "Lewis Libby has been convicted of perjury, but his trial revealed deeper truths about Vice President Cheney's role in this sordid affair. Now President Bush must pledge not to pardon Libby for his criminal conduct."

    Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald:

    "Obviously we are gratified by the jury's verdict today. The jury worked very long and hard, and deliberated at some length over the charges and returned a verdict of guilty on four of the counts.

    "The jury was obviously convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had lied and obstructed justice in a serious matter.

    "The results are actually sad, it's sad that we had a high level official, a person who worked in the office of the vice president, obstructed justice and lied under oath. We wish that had not happened, but it did."

    Theodore Wells, Libby's lawyer:

    "We are very disappointed with the verdict of the jury. We intend to file a motion for a new trial and if that is denied, we will appeal the conviction and we have every confidence that ultimately Mr. Libby will be vindicated.

    "We believe ... that he is totally innocent, totally innocent and that he did not do anything wrong."

    Valerie Plame Wilson's legal team:

    "The entire Wilson team is pleased by today's verdict and believes that justice has been served in this case ... The Wilsons will continue to pursue the civil case against vice-president Cheney, Mr Libby, Mr Rove and Mr Armitage.

    "Disturbing facts emerged from the criminal trial that are highly relevant to the civil case. For example ... details of how Vice President Cheney orchestrated the concerted White House effort to discredit and retaliate against Joe Wilson."

    Howard Dean, Democratic National Committee chairman:

    "Today the American legal system did something the Bush administration hasn't, by holding Scooter Libby accountable for his illegal actions.

    "Many unanswered questions remain about the other key Bush advisors who participated in the administration's efforts to mislead the American people and smear its critics who have yet to be held accountable. Ultimately, the buck stops with President Bush."

    Allan Lichtman, author and professor at American University speaking on Al Jazeera:

    Allan Lichtman
    "This is another harpoon within a badly wounded administration.

    "It may not be the fatal blow but at this point, unless things turn around for the Bush administration, the truth is, the Democratic party could pick a name out of the phone book and elect that person president of the United States in 2008.

    "There's just too much damage right now.

    "It [the Libby case] tells us ... how frenzied the White House was about justifying this war and about Ambassador Wilson's claims ... that the attempt by Iraq to buy uranium in Africa was bogus.

    "This administration is now being accused ... of using the threat of weapons of mass destruction to justify a war that they wanted to fight on another basis, and that's why everything has fallen apart.

    "If you start a war on a deceptive basis, you're not going to sustain the support of the American people."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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