Friday, January 27, 2006

Libby To Pursue Media

NYT reported Lawyers for Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff asked a federal judge on Thursday to order the prosecutor in the C.I.A. leak case to turn over all documents in his possession related to what journalists knew from any source about the intelligence officer at the heart of the case. The lawyers for the former chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby Jr., said in their motion that the prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, had refused to turn over to the defense documents that would shed light on whether any reporter knew about the C.I.A. officer, Valerie Wilson, before her name was first disclosed in a newspaper column on July 14, 2003.

Libby is not going to just roll over, but is going after the press.
Mr. Libby's lawyers said in their motion that "the prosecution invoked an extraordinarily narrow conception of its disclosure obligations." The prosecutor turned over, the defense said, only documents related to Mr. Libby's contacts with reporters, refusing to turn over documents about what these and other reporters had learned about Ms. Wilson from other sources.

The defense team said that such documents were highly relevant as Mr. Libby's lawyers sought to find out "the identity of all reporters who knew that Ms. Wilson worked for the C.I.A., and to discover when they learned such information, from whom they learned it and whether they disclosed it further after learning it."

Just One Minute blogged We are especially intrigued by the defense attempt to learn about "any agreements to limit the scope of information provided by the reporters [to Fitzgerald]". Gentlemen such as Mr. Pincus of the Post may be asked questions by the defense that Fitzgerald passed over, such as, "Was the leak you received on July 12 your first hint that Ambassador Wilson's wife was at the CIA, or had other sources mentioned this to you earlier?".... My Not So Bold Prediction - this trial will mark a watershed in the history of the media in America.... The WaPo nearly brought a tear to me eye with this:
The defense effort to delve deeper into Fitzgerald's investigation, if successful, could divulge the identities of some anonymous, high-level government sources whom reporters and news organizations have spent years and millions of dollars in legal fees protecting from public view.
Oh, poor dears. This next bit echoes David Johnston of the Times:
The defense strategy is expected to pull several high-profile Washington journalists into a legal battle over the First Amendment, many of them for a second time.
Many for a second time, some for the first. The subpoena, the court fight, the adverse rulings, the deposition, the testimony - these high profile journalists may as well prepare themselves to walk the line.

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