WASHINGTON — Two notes sent this afternoon to the judge by jurors in the I Lewis “Scooter” Libby trial provide the most insight yet on the deliberations that have now reached their eighth day. The notes seem to indicate that the jury is focusing on Libby’s memory.
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Jurors have asked the judge to clarify the definition of the term “reasonable doubt,” asking if it is “necessary for the government to present evidence that it is not humanly possible for someone not to recall an event in order to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”
A conviction would require that all jurors find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
In his instructions to the jury before sending them off to deliberate more than a week ago, presiding U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton said, “Every defendant in a criminal case is presumed innocent,” and the burden of proving otherwise never shifts to the defendant. Nor is Libby required to prove that any misstatements he made were honest errors, the judge said. It is up to the prosecution to prove the contrary.
To convict, Walton said, jurors must decide that the government proved its case “beyond a reasonable doubt,” meaning a doubt based on reason and linked to “the evidence or lack of evidence.”
But the government need not prove its case beyond all doubt or to some “mathematical certainty,” the judge emphasized.
The other note dealt with Libby’s grand jury testimony. The jurors asked the judge, “are we supposed to evaluate the entire Libby transcripts (testimony) or would the court direct us to specific pages/lines.”
About eight hours of audio recordings of Libby’s two appearances before the grand jury were played in court to the jury which was also given the more than 300 pages of transcripts.
The seven women and four men who comprise the jury will reconvene 9 a.m. Monday. The judge will likely bring them back to the courtroom to either ask for clarity in their questions or answer them outright.
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