The Three Great Cuts

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Want to lighten your prose? Hunt for phrases that often clutter the page. Let’s consider three such phrases from filings in the Scooter Libby case.

1. There Is, There Are

Original: Indeed, there exist documents, some of which have been provided to defendant, and there were conversations in which defendant participated, that reveal a strong desire by many, including multiple people in the White House, to repudiate Mr. Wilson before and after July 14, 2003.

Revision: Through documents and conversations, Libby learned that many White House officials and others wanted to discredit Wilson before and after July 14, 2003.

2. With Respect to, With Regard to

Original: With respect to the individuals whom the government does intend to call as witnesses, the documents defendant demands go well beyond anything that would be necessary to prepare to examine these individuals, and indeed, far beyond the scope of what is relevant to the charges contained in the indictment.

Revision: Libby can prepare to examine the government’s witnesses without the documents he demands. Those documents are also irrelevant.

3. The Fact That

Original: Defendant testified that one of the reasons why he met with Miller at a hotel was the fact that he was sharing this information with Miller exclusively.

Revision: As Libby testified, one reason he met Miller at a hotel was so he could share this information only with her.

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