Wednesday, February 21, 2007

In Closing Pleas, Clashing Views on Libby’s Role

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 — Defense lawyers and prosecutors in the perjury trial of I. Lewis Libby Jr. made their final summations on Tuesday, offering the jury two starkly different ways to evaluate the evidence presented over the last few weeks.

In their closing statements, the prosecutors presented a detailed and businesslike summing up of their case that Mr. Libby willfully lied to both a grand jury and F.B.I. agents investigating the leak in the summer of 2003 of the identity of a C.I.A. operative, Valerie Wilson.

Theodore V. Wells Jr., Mr. Libby’s chief defense lawyer, countered with an intensely emotional defense ending in a choked sob. He argued that Mr. Libby’s testimony to the grand jury and his interviews with the Federal Bureau of Investigation may have contained inaccuracies but that they were the result of innocent memory lapses explained by his pressing schedule of national security issues.

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