Now up and running, the official "Scooter Libby Legal Defense Trust" at www.scooterlibby.com. The fund is fueled by donations from friends and supporters of the indicted former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.
"There is already more than $2 million in the trust," according to Barbara Comstock, a Republican strategist and a member of the fund's steering committee. "The goal is for about $5-6 million in donations."
The trust was set up to help Libby pay for "growing legal expenses." The Web site states, "good lawyers are very expensive. And Scooter and his family already have made many sacrifices during Scooter's 10 years of dedicated public service. Now they need our help to win this fight."
The site is peppered with testimonials on Scooter's service to the country, like this one by former Amb. Dennis Ross: "He's cared much more about trying to do a job than trying to get visibility for himself. He's approached his job with the sense that his role is basically to support others."
And this from Cheney himself: "Scooter is entitled to the presumption of innocence. He is a great guy. I worked with him for a long time. I have tremendous regard for him." (those were Cheney's words last week during his interview on FOX News.)
Florida shopping-center magnate Mel Sembler chairs the trust. Sembler is Chairman of the Board of The Sembler Company in St. Petersburg, Fla. He served as U.S. Ambassador to Italy from 2001 to 2005. Sembler also served as Finance Chairman for the Republican National Committee from 1997 to 2000. The trust's steering committee is composed of several prominent Republicans, a few Democrats and several friends of Mr. Libby.
Hundreds of people across the country have already made donations, according to Comstock. The gifts are coming in at under $12,000 to avoid tax liability for the donors, she said.