Fitzgerald set the tone for the trial in his opening statement today, arguing that Cheney was much more deeply involved in the leak than anyone previously thought, while, in their opening statements, Libby's defense argued that he was sacrificed to cover up Karl Rove's involvement.
Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald used his opening statement in the CIA leak trial Tuesday to allege that Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff lied about Cheney's early involvement in the disclosure of a spy’s identity.
Fitzgerald alleged that Libby in September 2003 “wiped out” a Cheney note just before Libby's first FBI interview when he said he learned about Wilson and his wife, CIA operative Valerie Plame, from reporters, not the vice president.
It was not clear if Fitzgerald meant that the note was destroyed or that Libby had forgotten about it.
In their opening statements, Libby's attorneys said Bush administration officials tried to blame him for the leak to cover up for presidential adviser Karl Rove’s own disclosures.
Attorney Theodore Wells said Libby went to Cheney in 2003 and complained that the White House was subtly blaming him for leaking Plame’s identity to columnist Robert Novak.
“They’re trying to set me up. They want me to be the sacrificial lamb,” Wells said, recalling the alleged conversation between Libby and Cheney. “I will not be sacrificed so Karl Rove can be protected.”