News and events revolving around the ousting of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Libby's Lawyers Subpoena Times, Reporters - Yahoo! News

By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer
Thu Mar 16, 9:34 PM ET

The CIA leak case of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby may be heading for a new battle between the news media and the courts, the second such confrontation triggered by the Valerie Plame affair.

Lawyers for Libby are casting a wide net for information from news organizations for his upcoming criminal trial, subpoenaing documents from The New York Times, Time magazine and three reporters, including NBC correspondent Tim Russert.

Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff is entitled to find out what the news media knew about the CIA status of undercover officer Plame before her identity was publicly exposed, Libby's lawyers have said in court papers.

Conservative columnist Robert Novak named her in a column in July 2003, eight days after Plame's husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, alleged the Bush administration had twisted prewar intelligence on Iraq.

Wilson has said he believes his wife's identity was disclosed to undermine his credibility.

Libby, the former White House aide, was indicted Oct. 28 on five counts of perjury, obstruction and lying to the FBI and a federal grand jury about how he became aware of Plame's CIA status and what he said about her to reporters.

Libby told investigators he'd heard about her CIA employment from reporters. The criminal charges say he learned of it from Cheney, the State Department and the CIA.

In a court filing in January, Libby's lawyers said prosecutors were refusing to give Libby evidence about what reporters learned from sources other than Libby about where Plame worked.

"There can be no information more material to the defense of a perjury case than information tending to show that the alleged false statements are, in fact, true or that they could be the result of mistake or confusion," Libby's legal team argued.

They said it is material to Libby's defense to determine the identity of all reporters who knew about Plame's job, when they learned of it and from whom and whether they disclosed it further after learning it.

The subpoenaed reporters and news organizations have until April 7 to turn over the material or challenge the subpoenas before U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton, who will preside at Libby's trial scheduled for next January.

Time Inc. lawyer Robin Bierstedt confirmed that the magazine and reporter Matt Cooper were each subpoenaed by Libby's attorneys. The Times confirmed subpoenas to the newspaper and former reporter Judy Miller. NBC confirmed the subpoena to Russert.

The subpoena to Miller seeks her notes and other materials, including documents concerning Plame prepared by Miller and Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof.

Kristof wrote the first account of the criticism that Plame's husband was leveling at the Bush administration. Referring to Plame's husband, though not by name, a May 6, 2003, Times column by Kristof raised the possibility the Bush administration might have disregarded prewar intelligence suggesting Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction.

Three weeks after Kristof's column appeared, Libby started making inquiries at the State Department about the unnamed envoy in Kristof's column, according to the indictment.

The subpoena to the Times also calls for:

_Documents of contacts between any Times employee and any of eight people, including then-CIA Director George Tenet and then-White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, regarding Joe Wilson.

_Documents concerning a recent Vanity Fair article in which Miller said she talked to many people in the government about Plame.

_Drafts of a personal account by Miller, published in the Times, about her grand jury testimony.

_Documents regarding Miller's interactions with a Times editor in which Miller may have been told to pursue a story about Joe Wilson and a trip he made to Niger on behalf of the CIA.

Miller spent 85 days in jail after refusing to tell a grand jury about conversations she had with Libby about Wilson's wife.

The Times reporter later testified before the grand jury, saying Libby had given her permission to do so, and provided the panel with edited notes of her interviews with the former chief of staff.

She retired from the Times in November.


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