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A first look at Libby's defense

In a court filing late last night, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's lawyers revealed some of their defense strategy -- namely, that their client simply can't remember things like, "snippets of conversations about Valerie Plame Wilson's employment status." Libby's defense, according to court documents, is that he was overwhelmed by the demands of his job at the White House, and might have forgotten, or misconstrued conversations.

His lawyers included portions of Libby's grand jury testimony that highlight the "pressing matters" of his job that may have affected his memory. Libby told the grand jury on March 5, 2004: "I tend to get between 100 and 200 pages of material a day that I'm supposed to read and understand and I -- you know, I start at 6:00 in the morning and I go to 8 or 8:30 at night... I can't possibly recall all the stuff that I think is important, let alone other stuff that I don't think is as important... I apologize if there's some stuff that I remember and some I don't."

Ted Wells, Libby's lead attorney, writes, "the defense of confusion, mistake or faulty memory is a valid and well-recognized defense in perjury." He continues: "Given the urgent national security issues that commanded Mr. Libby's attention, it is understandable that he may have forgotten or misremembered relatively less significant events. Such relatively less important events include alleged snippets of conversations about Valerie Plame Wilson's employment status."

The defense team notes that they have reviewed "extensive research on the functioning of memory," and cites scientific literature on memory that "shows that people tend to remember things that are personally important to them and may forget or confuse things that are not."

The filing also indicates that "it is highly likely that Mr. Libby will testify at trial."