Archive for Saturday, February 25, 2006

Libby loses evidence request

February 25, 2006


Former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, charged with perjury in the CIA leak case, cannot be told the identity of another government official who is said to have divulged a CIA operative's identity to reporters, a federal judge ruled Friday.

At the same time, U.S. Dist. Judge Reggie B. Walton said Libby could have copies of notes he took while serving as chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.

The judge also set the stage for a showdown in late April over the defense's plans to subpoena reporters and news organizations for notes and other documents in the leak of Valerie Plame's identity.

During a hearing Friday afternoon, Walton said Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald can keep secret the other government official's identity because that person has not been charged and has a right to privacy.

The judge put off deciding whether Libby can have access to highly classified presidential daily briefs, summaries of intelligence on threats against the United States that Libby and Cheney received six days per week from a CIA official.

Walton said he is concerned that Libby's request could "sabotage" the case because President Bush probably will invoke executive privilege and refuse to turn over the classified reports.

Libby, 55, was indicted last year on charges that he lied about how he learned Plame's identity and when he subsequently told reporters. Libby's trial is set for January 2007.


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