14:59: Wilson/Plame sue Cheney, Rove, Libby, pretty much everyone, really

posted at 4:32 pm on July 13, 2006 by Allahpundit

As Glenn Close said to Michael Douglas, “I’m not just going to be ignored, Dan.”

Might as well. Why not? Rove skated, Novak blamed it all on a big misunderstanding — their martyrdom juice is almost spent. A nice, protracted civil suit is just the transfusion they need.

They’re alleging, of course, that the neoconservative cabal conspired to discredit Honest Joe with a “whispering campaign,” a charge which Novak has repeatedly denied. But never mind that. Here’s the good stuff:

The Complaint specifies that each of the Wilsons has been deprived of their First and Fifth Amendment rights; each has suffered a gross invasion of their privacy; each has been impaired in pursuing professional opportunities; and that they fear for their safety and the safety of their children as a result of the wrongful public disclosures.

They didn’t seem to be overly concerned about privacy when they turned out for the White House Correspondents Dinner, during which Colbert actually pointed them out from the podium. As for financial impairment, three years after they became Jesus and Mary Magdalene in the nutroots’s version of the Passion, Joe Wilson has a bestseller to his credit and does brisk business on the lecture circuit. (Request him for the topic, “Speaking Truth to Power and the Consequences.” You won’t regret it!) Plame will eventually write her own memoir and they’ll make a bundle on that too.

And yet…

Won’t you please help?

You’re not donating to them. You’re donating “for justice.”

The court complaint is here. They’ve scheduled a press conference tomorrow at 10 a.m. God help me, I’ll probably have video.

Am I actually going to have to start following this ridiculous story?

Update: Kim Priestap at Wizbang wonders if this isn’t going to backfire on the Wilsons in a major way. JPod’s psyched, too.

Tom Maguire may/could/probably will have an exegesis of the complaint later, so I’ll just put up the link now.

Update: More privacy fun. Vanity Fair, January 2004:


Update: Goldstein‘s on the money in identifying the other reason they’re suing:

I will say that this suggests to me that Fitzgerald’s investigation is over. And if he couldn’t find the requisite proof to indict, it’s possible that Plame and Wilson have decided to pursue this as a way of create [sic] the appearance of scandal where none existed.

They were promised a frog-march, and they will not be denied. Even if they have to settle for a metaphorical one.

Update: Media Blog puts the dagger in.

Update: Who said it?

I think winning better not be the point, because … I think this is a very weak case…

I think they’re going to have a lot of trouble keeping this case in court. I think the vice president’s side of the case has a very, very strong case in going for dismissal…

It is a political piece of litigation, and you know that by reading the first paragraph of the complaint…

Spruiell has the shocking answer.

Update: Well, that didn’t take long. Five hours ago I said “Plame will eventually write her own memoir and they’ll make a bundle on that too.” Now Media Blog reports:

Former CIA officer Valerie Plame, whose outing led to the indictment of a White House official, has agreed to write her memoirs for Simon & Schuster, weeks after a reported seven-figure deal with the Crown Publishing Group fell through.

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Cue, Vanity Fair picture!

Richsamg on July 13, 2006 at 4:47 PM

The door swings both ways. Now the Plames get to put Rove and Cheney under oath. THAT is the sole reason for the law suit.

Labamigo on July 13, 2006 at 4:50 PM

So, not so much jumping the shark as leaping the frog.

Jim Treacher on July 13, 2006 at 4:50 PM

I’ll fork over $50 to see Joe’s and Val’s cross examination on PPV. A good lawyer will destroy these two on cross.

Bring it on.

thirteen28 on July 13, 2006 at 4:52 PM

When your trying to shoot someone, the Barrel of the gun is pointed AT THE OPPONENT NOT AT YOURSELF!

Defector01 on July 13, 2006 at 4:52 PM

I’m actually glad these morons filed a lawsuit because the truth will all come out in the discovery process. The Wilsons will be exposed for being the frauds we all believe they are, and for cashing in on all this publicity. Little do they realize that this will hurt them more than help them.

Rick on July 13, 2006 at 4:54 PM

“The door swings both ways. Now the Plames get to put Rove and Cheney under oath. THAT is the sole reason for the law suit”.

That’s if the suit isn’t dismissed first. But who would suffer the most damage if put under oath? I think it unlikely to be Rove or Cheney.

darwin on July 13, 2006 at 4:56 PM

Ummm…. question… They did NOT break the law, or they would have been indicted… can you sue for someone using their Freedom of Speech to tell the truth?

Hmmm… that would be good… this is a Freedom of Speech issue.. think the ACLU will support Cheney / Rove?

Romeo13 on July 13, 2006 at 4:56 PM

Who is paying their legal coffers? The DNC?

Kokonut on July 13, 2006 at 5:03 PM

Come to think out it … shouldn’t she be suing her husband (aka liar Joe) for “outting” her as far back as 1999 in Who’s Who?

darwin on July 13, 2006 at 5:05 PM

They won’t make it past discovery.

And since when is discrediting a liar actionable?

Pablo on July 13, 2006 at 5:09 PM

I suspect it will be dismissed outright by the judge.

GT on July 13, 2006 at 5:09 PM

Actually I think the Vanity Fair picture tells alot about these folks. I mean, look at her, she’s practically wearing a burqa already!


RobertHuntingdon on July 13, 2006 at 5:10 PM

This suit has no standing. 1) Can’t sue Executive Branch officers in the course of their duties. Her only course of action would be against the agency, just like Linda Tripp had to do. 2) There are no Government claims against them to challenge the Constitutionality of the claims. This will just give Chris Matthews a very colorful political document to quote from.

Monica Lewensky would have had a better chance to sue Bill Clinton for sexual harassment, as his behavior was not in his official capacity!

Fritz on July 13, 2006 at 5:15 PM

It’s all about trying to spin bad publicity on the Republicans as elections loom.I question the timing.I also want to know who in the CIA is behind this,because you know that they would want to have a certain hand in it as an agent, a super secret undercover agent no less,goes on the stand.

bbz123 on July 13, 2006 at 5:17 PM

The Wilson-Plame lawsuit could lead to the same disastrous consequences for the plantiffs that Oscar Wilde’s lawsuit against the Maquis of Queensbury had for him. However, whereas in the latter case it was sad case of superb talent self destructing, it would be a justly deserved outcame for Wilson-Plame.

I consider “The Picture of Dorian Gray” to be one of the masterpieces of Western literature is spite of “its alleged homoerotic theme.” Wilson’s article on Niger in the NYT, on the other hand, will be remembered only for its dishonesty and shameless self-promotion.

ptolemy on July 13, 2006 at 5:19 PM

It’s all about us – and our BDS.

Someone remind them that their 15 minutes are up.

Athos on July 13, 2006 at 5:22 PM

These two are like, so ov-uh!

JammieWearingFool on July 13, 2006 at 5:32 PM

All of their witnesses will be journalists, expected to testify in open court about their sources. Assuming that those releases are still in effect, I can’t imagine that such testimony will be solicited with much ease. There could be some fun if the case does not get tossed immediately.

rw on July 13, 2006 at 5:34 PM

I’d be interested in their “UNDER OATH” depositions. All motivated by their unstable hatred of the Bush Administration. This is going to blow up in their faces.

Perhaps the Himbo and the Bimbo need the money to maintain their “Vanity Fair” lifestyle.

I believe the case will be dropped rather quickly.

doingwhatican on July 13, 2006 at 6:19 PM

To those claiming this suit will be summarily dismissed: Don’t be so sure.

If you read the Bivens case on which the suit is based, it’s easy to construct a scenario in which at least one claim survives for trial. My reasoning is that Bivens expressly calls for shaping the law around the situation rather than the other way around, and is therefore a pet case for activist judges because it is based on practicality rather than a strict reading of the Constitution.

For example, the First Amendment would appear to require an act of Congress, or at minimum a state actor to whom a legislative power has been delegated, in order to find a free speech claim (“Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech ….”). Seems clear enough, no?

Well, no, as it turns out, because the Supreme Court held in Bivens (citing Bell v. Hood) that “where federally protected rights have been invaded, it has been the rule from the beginning that courts will be alert to adjust their remedies so as to grant the necessary relief.”

Thus, as in Bivens, members of the Executive Branch can probably be substituted for the required state actor (which now requires only that someone be acting under color of law) and sued for money damages, even though they don’t fit within the seemingly clear language of the First Amendment.

It is also noteworthy that each of the defendants in the complaint have been sued in a personal capacity rather than in their Executive capacity, which would otherwise allow invocation of an executive immunity type defense.

That said, the Wilsons’ individual causes of action seem to me to be extremely weak. In particular, the thrust of the complaint has to do with the supposedly unlawful disclosure of intrusive or otherwise private facts, and the subseqent negative impact of those disclosures.

But can plaintiffs who’ve been listed in Who’s Who, published articles in the NYT about the very subject matter they’re now suing over, and gone on Meet the Press to plead their case really claim to have a reasonable expectation of privacy? Or that the publicity was legitimately damaging when they themselves are out there furthering the story? Probably not, and I don’t see anything good coming from this for the Wilsons — nor should there be.

Blacksheep on July 13, 2006 at 6:52 PM

Ok. As I understand it people being sued are under no compunction to testify against themselves [the 5th] while those doing the suing can indeed be called upon to testify. By naming so many in the lawsuit they have cut way down their chances of getting someone in their sights to be held on charges of perjury. Any legal eagles here who can state otherwise?

As already widely pointed out, this will oepn the doors for discovery into the lives of Plame, and Joe. If any defense is made stating, and proving a political motive exists then this could bode badly for the entire DNC. Following the money trail could also be insiteful. Pelousy will love that.

DannoJyd on July 13, 2006 at 7:13 PM

Blacksheep, I’m going to sit next to you during the next test. ;o)

DannoJyd on July 13, 2006 at 7:16 PM

As I noted on my blog, this ‘scandal’ must have run its course in the DC cocktail circuit (where Joe Wilson is a fixture) so he had to do something to keep things stirred up.

Love the 14:59 in the title of this post, Allah. Perfect :)

SisterToldjah on July 13, 2006 at 7:20 PM

DannoJyd —

As I understand it people being sued are under no compunction to testify against themselves [the 5th] while those doing the suing can indeed be called upon to testify ….”

Actually, the Fifth Amendment provides protection against self-incrimination in a criminal proceeding, not immunity from testifying in a civil action.

Blacksheep on July 13, 2006 at 7:21 PM

Didn’t this Wilson character lie to a Congressional Committee under oath? Seems like I read this somewhere along the way. If he did, why was he not prosecuted? I don’t understand!

OBX Pete on July 13, 2006 at 7:22 PM

Seems as though he was closer to the truth in committee than he was in print.

shineboxjed on July 13, 2006 at 7:37 PM

I don’t think a nonsuit’s the problem for Lyin’ Joe, blacksheep. It’s not that hard to get this kind of case to a jury.

The problem is the discovery. That drip, drip, drip sound you are hearing right now is the defense lawyers drooling at the prospect of deposing these morons.

And you can invoke the fifth amendment in a civil case; the fact you’ve invoked it can be used to create a presumption of wrongdoing in a civil case, not a criminal one. And it can result in sanctions, depending on the circumstances.

They will regret filing this lawsuit. I mean really, truly regret it. It’ll be settled in a few months is my guess.

Pavel on July 13, 2006 at 7:47 PM

Those two wore out their welcome so long ago.

Kralizec on July 13, 2006 at 8:39 PM

Turn the gas up on the fryer boys and girls, we have two in the waiting room!

NEMETI IN SYRACUSE on July 13, 2006 at 8:55 PM

WILSON’S LAWSUIT: 1) 15 more minutes of Plame.
2) The price of Plame.

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on July 14, 2006 at 12:04 AM

Thanks Blacksheep, and Pavel. It has been too long since I’ve studied anything concerning a civil proceeding and it thus gets muddled after a few decades.

I still cannot see any up side in this gambit for Plame, Wilson, or the dems, and continue to believe this should backfire on them all.

DannoJyd on July 14, 2006 at 12:51 AM

This lawsuit may not be such a good thing for our side, so don’t chortle too loudly yet.

Here are some points that haven’t been touched upon by others posting here.

A civil suit has a lower standard of proof for winning. Instead of “beyond a reasonable doubts,” as in criminal cases, the standard is “preponderance of evidence,” or 51%. So, the Wilsons will have an easier time prevailing in court than Fitzgerald would have.

Consider OJ’s case. He was acquited of the criminal charges but found guilty of murdering Nicole in civil court because the standard was “preponderence” and not “beyond reasonable doubt.”

It is conceivable that a jury could convict Cheney, Libby and Rove, et. al. on simple preponderance, something that Fitzgerald knew he couldn’t.

Second, depending on a number of factors, Cheney, Libby, abd Rove, et. al. (aka “CL&R”), MAY NOT GET THE OPPORTUNITY TO USE DISCOVERY to get the goods necessary to destroy the Wilsons. “CL&R”‘s request for discovery of certain files and testimoney may fail for lack of relevancy. In other words, the judge may prohibit a “fishing expedition” from CL&R’s team.

Third, while executive immunity probably can’t be used to toss the case out, privilige could be used to block some or all of plaintif’s discovery.

On balance, I think that CL&R will still probably prevail, because the Wilson’s case is mostly bullshit.

Let’s just hope that the jury is not a panel of BDS sufferers.

georgej on July 14, 2006 at 6:28 AM

Second, depending on a number of factors, Cheney, Libby, abd Rove, et. al. (aka “CL&R”), MAY NOT GET THE OPPORTUNITY TO USE DISCOVERY to get the goods necessary to destroy the Wilsons. “CL&R”’s request for discovery of certain files and testimoney may fail for lack of relevancy. In other words, the judge may prohibit a “fishing expedition” from CL&R’s team.

When a claim in the suit is that they tried to discredit Wilson, the truth is an absolute defense. Regarding Val’s employment and Joe’s trip to Niger any of that is relevant and discoverable. Then, there’s the claim that the Wilson’s were damaged financially by um…something or other. So, their financials for the last several years should be discoverable. Actually, they should have to submit them as evidence to prove that claim.

Of course, these things go on a case by case basis, but I don’t see where Cheney, et al will have much trouble getting what little they need to defend against these claims.

Pablo on July 14, 2006 at 8:18 AM

From TPM Cafe:

By Chuck Keller | bio

Valerie Plame filed suit today against high level members of the Bush administration. VALERIE PLAME SUIT

She may win. She may be compensated. The culprits may even be punished. But it’s too late for justice. It’s too late for the people who have been killed or tortured in the middle east for having been associated with Plame. It’s too late to change the results of the 2004 presidential race which might have had a different outcome if the truth about Plame’s identity being revealed had been known. It’s too late to salvage her promising career. It’s too late for the Wilson/Plame family to ever feel completely safe again.

Well, knowing that, I think I’m going to cry.

Anyone got anything on those people who have been killed or tortured for being associated with Val, or are they entirely hypothetical?

Pablo on July 14, 2006 at 9:06 AM

What Scooter, Rove, Novak did was smarmy. But illegal?? Don’t know what these two are thinking.

honora on July 14, 2006 at 9:16 AM

As Glenn Close said to Michael Douglas, “I’m not just going to be ignored, Dan.”

Sadly accurate.

Cary on July 14, 2006 at 10:27 AM

georgej raises a good point about the unpredictability of juries. They do strange things lots of times, and you get a couple folks with acute BDR on the jury, you may see some strange things.

The jury’s at the end of the case, though, a couple years down the road at least. So the meat here is the discovery, which Pablo is right about: when one of the principal defenses in this case is that Joe is a lying sack of shit with no reputation to speak of among people who have a clue, there’s going to be all kinds of juicy discovery permitted.

There’ll be virtually no coverage in the MSM of what gets discovered, of course, Valerie will still make millions off her fiction piece, and Cheney and the boys will still rack up huge attorneys fees fighting the Duplicitous Duo, but no one ever said the world’s a just place.

Pavel on July 14, 2006 at 10:50 AM