Opening statements in the criminal trial against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, are still a week away, but the special prosecutor has already provided a preview into the government's case against the ex-White House official accused of lying to the FBI and a grand jury about his role in the leak of a covert CIA operative.
According to court documents, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has said he plans to focus on the week of July 7 to 14, 2003, during which Libby allegedly told several reporters that Valerie Plame Wilson worked for the CIA and was responsible for convincing the agency to send her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, to Niger in 2002 to investigate claims that Iraq had sought 500 tons of uranium from the African country.
"I'm not going to argue it was the most important issue consuming the Bush administration," Fitzgerald told US District Court Judge Reggie Walton during a February 24 federal court hearing, a transcript of which was obtained by this reporter.
Fitzgerald said, according to the transcript, that he will argue that Mr. Libby was consumed with Wilson more than he should have been during that week. "But he was, and you can look at the time he spent with people," Fitzgerald added. "When talking about Mr. Wilson for the first time, he described himself as a former Hill staffer. He meets with people off-premises. There were some unusual things I won't get into about that week. At the end of the day, we're talking about someone who spent a lot of time during the week of July 7 to July 14 focused on the issue of Wilson and Wilson's wife."
"Truthout reported that Rove was indicted last May and later struck a plea agreement with the prosecutor based on conversations with high-ranking government sources. Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, vehemently denied the report and, in June 2006, said he had received a letter from Fitzgerald exonerating Rove. However, Luskin has not publicly released a copy of the letter he claims Fitzgerald sent him nearly nine months ago. Fitzgerald has not publicly confirmed or denied Luskin's assertions regarding Rove's legal status." <more>
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