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Libby Juror Addresses Media

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Tuesday, March 6, 2007; 6:05 PM

LIBBY TRIAL JUROR DENIS COLLINS HOLDS A MEDIA AVAILABILITY

FOLLOWING THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE VERDICT IN THE LIBBY TRIAL

MARCH 6, 2007

COLLINS: I will say, I'm not extremely excited to be here, but because I was a reporter for a lot of years, I just feel it would have been hypocritical for me to not talk to you.

I'm not going to mention any of the other jurors' names or numbers. They don't want to speak about this at the moment. Maybe they never will; I don't know.

But I just feel like it's kind of I'm happy to talk to you all for a little bit about just what what evidence seemed to convince us and...

QUESTION: What was your juror number?

QUESTION: Could you tell us how you drew the conclusion that it was a deliberate lie versus an innocent mistake?

COLLINS: The primary thing that convinced us on most of the counts was the conversation alleged conversation with Russert. It was either false, which some of us believe it never happened. Or if it did happen, Mr. Libby saying that he was surprised to hear about Mrs. Wilson we had about 34 PostIt pages. By PostIt, I don't mean the little ones you stick on; they were like 2.5 feet by 2 feet. And they were filled with all the information that we distilled from the testimony.

We took a long time to do that. We took about a week just to get all these little building blocks there.

And what we came up with was that Mr. Libby either was told by or told to people about Mrs. Wilson at least nine times, and in a period of time that it would be extremely I mean, we were told he had a bad memory and we actually believed he did.

But Mr. Hanna's testimony that he would forget from morning to evening who told him something was contradicted by Mr. Hanna's testimony that said he had an incredible grasp of details and arguments, so that even if he forgot that someone had told him about Mrs. Wilson who had told him, it seemed very unlikely that he would have not remembered that about Mrs. Wilson.

COLLINS: So we had all these conversations, the dates of, you know, when Grossman contacted him about you know, he had gone to Grossman and said, "Would you find out about Mr. Wilson?"

And Grossman came back. And I think those of you who were at the trial have already said, "Well, I thought it was an interesting tidbit that his wife worked at the CIA as well."

We have the Joe Wilson article, with notation from the vice president on the page, saying, "Was this just a" you know, "Did the wife just send him on this" whatever it was "junket or something?"

There was just so many of those things that it was just very hard not to believe how he could remember it on a Tuesday and then forget it on a Thursday and then remember it two days later.

Now, having said that, I will say that there was a tremendous amount of sympathy for Mr. Libby on the jury. It was said a number of times, "What are we doing with this guy here? Where's Rove, where's you know, where are these other guys?"

We're not saying that we didn't think Mr. Libby was guilty of the things we found him guilty of but that it seemed like he was to put it in Mr. Wells' point, he was the fall guy. He was now, he made bad judgments, and...

QUESTION: Was he the fall guy for Vice President Cheney? Was that the belief of the jury?

COLLINS: The belief of the jury was that he was tasked by the vice president to go and talk to reporters. We never made any you know, came to any conclusion, or we never even discussed whether Cheney would have told him what exactly to say.

QUESTION: But what about the motive, as far as the jury's feelings about the motive for Scooter Libby to lie to the FBI and lie to the grand jury?

Did the vice president, Mr. Cheney, come up in your discussions about Mr. Libby's motives?

QUESTION: Was he covering for the vice president?

COLLINS: We actually never discussed that, because that was not what we were assigned to do.

QUESTION: What do you think?

COLLINS: I have really don't know.

One thing about being on this jury, the people who were on this jury there was some incredibly good managerialtype people who just took everything apart into the smallest piece, put it in the right places.

And it got to a point where you just couldn't opinion had very little to do with it. You just came to this conclusion that, "Wow, OK, here it is right before us."

QUESTION: Why was it taking why did it take 10 days, then? What was it about the process that took the time that it did?

COLLINS: Because we took every count and went back and went back over all the testimony. And as we went back we'd have all these different sheets, you know motivation to tell the truth, motivation to lie, believability, state of mind.

So we never got to the point of we didn't start to do a straw vote right away and said, "Well, what do you think?" Well, it was too big, it was too much, it was too important. We just didn't do that. So that's why it took so long.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Was there somebody or a number of jurors who were digging in their heels?

COLLINS: No. It was confusion you mean the one about the...

(CROSSTALK)

COLLINS: ... conversation with Cooper?

QUESTION: Right.

COLLINS : There was confusion by someone about whether the truth of the statement was at the point or was it just that he had said that statement.

And so we figured...

QUESTION: (inaudible)

QUESTION: Did the jury have a discussion about the significance of the underlying information about the wife whether it was classified, was this sensitive? And did you have a discussion about...

(CROSSTALK)

COLLINS : We were told that that information wasn't relevant. That information wasn't relevant. So we never talked about that.

The only time anything like that came up was when somebody would say, you know, "This word in court deciding seems to be a level or two down from what before we went into the jury we supposed the trial was about or had been initially about," which was who leaked Valerie Plame or Mrs. Wilson's name.

COLLINS : And, you know, it just seemed again, like I said, some jurors commented at some point, "I wish we weren't judging Libby, you know? This sucks. This is, you know, we don't like being here, doing this." But that wasn't our choice.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Can you tell us about the not guilty (inaudible) and why you found not guilty?

COLLINS: I don't really like to say this, but the Cooper count it was on the conversation with Mr. Cooper, and his version of what was said and Mr. Libby's version of what was said. OK?

QUESTION: And was it the perjury or the obstruction of justice?

(CROSSTALK)

COLLINS : Wait, let me just finish this, OK?

And the evidence that he had said, "Oh yeah, I heard that too," came from Mr. Cooper, and in some part Cathy Martin, because she had said she was listening to the phone call from one end. But she also said she went away to make another phone call, so that diminished her importance.

But Mr. Cooper so it was basically his word against Mr. Libby's word.

Now, so what's the evidence that we saw that maybe favored one or the other? If Mr. Cooper had gotten an affirmation of that information, it seemed unusual that he wouldn't have put that he had already heard it from Rove, so this would've been his second confirmation. He would've put it in the story he wrote that day. That's one thing.

Secondly, he had nothing in the notes about it, so there was no evidence there.

There was that, kind of, trick thing about the sentence I don't know, if you're not familiar with it, you'll have to look it up. But, you know, if he had said, "Yeah, the Libby the Wilson thing, but I'm not ever sure" blank.

Now, Wells did that, took a lot of time to say that this letter was this and this letter was that.

COLLINS : And, you know, it was not convincing.

But it was it weighed about six ounces. And when you looked at that line and you looked at what could it be, the fact that Cooper didn't know what it was, you know, it's just it was reasonable doubt.

QUESTION: What about Tim Russert? How credible a witness was he?

COLLINS : Well, I thought he was very credible. I think most people thought he was very credible.

But it's a funny thing when you know, there were a few people who thought, "No, he probably had that conversation." So, for purposes of arguing that point, we spent I don't know a day and a half, assuming it was true.

At one point, I raised an objection or something about, you know, "No, I can't go with that because of X." And somebody in the jury said, "Wait a minute; you said you don't believe they had the conversation."

So you know, you do get, kind of, caught up in making arguments for or against something just to help the process along.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Can you just tell us what it meant that you did not hear from Libby or Vice President Cheney?

COLLINS : You know, we had eight hours of grand jury testimony from Libby. So I felt like we that was good.

Hearing from Cheney I think it would have been interesting. I'm not sure what it would have done. I don't have any idea what he would have said.

But it was, sort of, like you know, we never I don't remember ever discussing that, like, "Wow, are we going to get to see" I thought, when Wells made his opening and he said suddenly hit us with that, you know, "It's the White House and people in the White House who are setting him up," I was thinking, "Wow, maybe we'll get to see President Bush here."

(LAUGHTER)

But so, you know, we would have liked to have seen him, but I don't...

QUESTION: Did it matter that he never came back that statement about the White House conspiracy?

COLLINS : You know, again, this jury was so focused on facts and I mean, again, it was just incredible to me how good they were at that. They did not get into that kind of conversation.

QUESTION: Did they have trouble reaching the decisions that you made?

I know I understand why it took a long time, because you were methodical. But on all the five counts, once you went through the process, was there, by and large, agreement, or did you have to really work through some important disagreements to get a unanimous verdict?

COLLINS : There were the Cooper one was the most had the most time to work out. And then, only, I think gee, I can't remember now which ones.

COLLINS : We had one unanimous decision right away, then...

QUESTION: Which one?

COLLINS : I think it was I've got it written down somewhere, but I don't have it with me. Five, one, two, four two, three, four I'm just trying to think what order we did them in. I'm sorry, I should have that on the tip of my tongue, but...

QUESTION: When you say, "right away," how quickly is right away (inaudible)?

COLLINS : We had talked about it on a Wednesday. We had some people saying, "I don't know if I can go along with that."

QUESTION: (inaudible)

COLLINS : Yes, yes, yes.

QUESTION: (OFFMIKE) after deliberation.

COLLINS : Yes.

And some questions were raised. People, kind of, provided some answers. And the next day we voted, and it went 110.

QUESTION: Mr. Collins , on the Cooper statement, you said there was reasonable doubt with respect to the statements that Libby gave to the FBI, but not reasonable doubt when he discussed it in front of the grand jury. (inaudible) on that. Can you distinguish...

COLLINS : Well, because the I forget now I'd have to read the exact thing. But we were not you know, the way the sentence, that thing in the Cooper in the FBI was not whether he was telling the truth to Cooper. We didn't care whether he lied to a reporter. That's, you know...

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

COLLINS : Yes, happens all the time.

But it's whether or not he actually said what he said to Cooper.

So that's different than telling the grand jury that, "I didn't know. Gee, I'd never known that before."

And, again, that's what one of the jurors had a problem with are we making a decision based on the truth of the statement? Well, no. It's just whether he actually said it.

QUESTION: What about the Judy Miller testimony? Did you find that to be credible? Did you find it to be important at all?

COLLINS: The Judy Miller testimony was important I mean, again, we had so many conversations that we would somebody would say, "I don't know. Her memory was terrible." And then somebody would say, "Yes, whose wasn't?"

(END OF COVERAGE)

END

.ETX

Mar 06, 2007 13:41 ET .EOF

Source: CQ Transcriptions

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