At The Libby Court: PDA In DC

Jennifer Hoar is a producer for CBSNews.com based in Washington.
(AP)
Scooter Libby's somber news today that he'd have to report to prison while he appeals his perjury and obstruction of justice convictions belied the mood that began today's hearing.

When Libby and his vast defense team entered the 6th floor U.S. District Court room only two minutes before the scheduled start to the hearing, the gathering was nearly jovial. I saw Special Prosecutor Pat Fitzgerald, whose legitimacy in that role was about to be skewered by the defense, go over to Libby attorney Ted Wells for a handshake and a laugh, even. Wells was grinning ear-to-ear and chuckling inexplicably. How lovely, I thought, counsel has camaraderie!

During what was supposed to be a five-minute recess, Libby's wife, Harriet Grant, whom I last saw in tears at the sentencing hearing, was smiling alongside of Wells and half-hugging him. There was no such PDA by the prosecution.

The Judge and Larry Robbins, the experienced appellate litigator who joined the Libby team recently, had some lively repartee that was, at times, tense.

When Robbins contested Walton's ruling blocking the testimony of NBC News reporter Andrea Mitchell, he was summarily defeated.

"Mitchell was going to lead the jury into making inference upon inference that would have led to nothing but rank speculation," Walton said. "I think I would have abdicated what the Supreme Court told me to do as a gatekeeper if I had allowed the [Mitchell] testimony."

Once Walton rendered his decision that Libby would have to head to jail – not pass Go, not collect $200 – a flurry of activity ensued. Fitzgerald exited almost immediately and, I'm told by my CBS News colleague Deirdre Hester, that Libby and his team exited through the judge's chambers and a private elevator.