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Saturday, February 04, 2006

Scooter Libby trial: Pat Fitzgerald v. Ted Wells

This week, the judge set a Jan. 8 trial date for the criminal trial of Scooter Libby, VP Dick Cheney's (former) Chief of Staff (more here).  If you are/were a trial attorney or just like watching trials, this one will likely be one of the best lawyered trials of the decade.  I wish I could attend.

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is described as a brilliant prosecutor -- with an amazing memory and indefatigable work ethic.  He will outwork the defense in any case, even living out of his office.  As the Washington Post wrote (here), Fitzgerald is "relentless" and he "never rests."  Fitzgerald (the son of a doorman from New York) is not married, apparently has no social life, so he devotes 24/7 to prosecuting bad guys (such as in terrorism cases, where he earned quite a reputation).  People Magazine named him one of the sexiest men, for whatever that's worth (see here).  I watched Fitzgerald announce the indictment of Libby.  Apparently, Fitzgerald spoke for 30+ minutes without notes or any prepared remarks, in what I thought was a pretty flawless performance.  He's not flashy, but he's plain spoken and very methodical.

By contrast, lead defense counsel Ted Wells is flashy and charismatic, and one of the best white collar criminal defense attorneys around.  He now co-chairs Paul Weiss's litigation department (bio here).  Wells (the son of a cab driver) is the guy who convinced a jury in DC to acquit US Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy (during the Clinton Administration).  I briefly got the chance to work on a case in which Wells was enlisted half way through.    Before trial, Wells goes into isolation to live and breathe preparation.  In that respect, he and Pat Fitzgerald may be very much alike. Both are also Harvard Law grads (Wells, 76; Fitzgerald, 85).  Their courtroom styles, though, will be a contrast for the jury.

Posted by Elee on February 4, 2006 at 09:40 AM in Criminal Law | Permalink


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