A spokesman for Karl Rove said he had "no comment" on the allegation made by Scooter Libby's attorney Ted Wells in his opening statements to the jury yesterday that Libby was "sacrificed" to protect Rove, NBC's Joel Seidman reports. Attorneys for Libby said that Administration officials tried to blame him for the leak of a CIA operative's name to cover up for Rove's own disclosures. "They're trying to set me up. They want me to be the sacrificial lamb," Wells said, recalling a conversation between Libby and his boss, Vice President Cheney, as the leak investigation heated up in 2003. "I will not be sacrificed so Karl Rove can be protected." Wells said that Rove was protected because "his fate was important to the Republican party."
It's unclear whether Rove will be called as a defense witness at trial, Seidman says. His name was on the list of people who may be mentioned, which was given to jury candidates before they were chosen to serve on the trial.
The New York Times adds, however, that Libby's defense team didn't "fully explain the connection between an effort to protect Mr. Rove and the actions that led to Mr. Libby's indictment. It was also the first sign that there had been fighting within the Bush administration over the C.I.A. leak investigation."