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the Libby Trial

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Author Topic: the Libby Trial  (Read 371 times)
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« on: February 08, 2007, 01:53:15 am »

NBC's 'Meet the Press' host to give testimony
POSTED: 10:09 a.m. EST, February 7, 2007

Story Highlights
NEW: NBC's Tim Russert to take the stand on Wednesday
Prosecution: Russert did not get any leniency in exchange for deposition to FBI
Defense has requested to get details from that deposition
On tape, Libby says he was surprised when Russert mentioned Plame
From Paul Courson
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The prosecution in the trial against Lewis "Scooter" Libby concludes its case Wednesday with testimony from Tim Russert, host of NBC's "Meet the Press."

Prosecutors have said that Russert will testify that Libby called him in 2003 and complained about what Libby felt was unfair news coverage of a disputed report questioning part of the Bush administration's basis for going to war with Iraq.

Libby has claimed Russert was the person who told him about a CIA connection for a woman whose husband had made a fact-finding mission to Africa and later disputed Bush claims Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger.

Russert is expected to say that Libby's call ended with the complaint about coverage, and that there was no such disclosure, prosecutors said in the court documents.

Libby is charged with lying to investigators trying to find out who leaked the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Her identity was revealed after her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, alleged in an editorial that the Bush administration twisted facts to support an invasion of Iraq.

Wilson said his intelligence-gathering work -- which concluded Iraq had made no serious effort to obtain nuclear weapons material in Niger -- had been ignored by the administration.

Libby is fighting a five-count indictment accusing him of perjury and obstruction of justice.

Libby's defense plans to question the credibility of Russert and has asked the prosecutor for notes relating to any leniency he received for his testimony.

The prosecution insists that Russert did not receive any special treatment as part of negotiations that led to his 2004 deposition with the FBI, in the criminal probe of Libby.

Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald said "despite a diligent search," the government has not been able to locate additional notes from Russert's FBI interview on August 7, 2004. The defense is aware of all the accommodations offered to obtain Russert's deposition, he said.

In audio recordings played Tuesday dating to Libby's 2004 testimony in a secret grand jury probe, Libby said he was "surprised" to hear from Russert that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA.

"Is it your testimony under oath, you don't recall Wilson's wife working for the CIA -- between the sixth (of July) and your conversation with Russert?" Fitzgerald asked.

"That's correct, sir, I don't recall discussing it. I do recall being surprised when I talked to Russert on the 10th or 11th," Libby told Fitzgerald.

Libby and Russert talked on July 10, 2003; Russert has denied he told Libby anything about Wilson's wife.
Wilson's article appeared on July 6, 2003. His wife's CIA connection was revealed in a New York Times column written by Robert Novak, eight days later.

Novak's column caused a political firestorm, and two months later prompted an FBI probe.
During the past two weeks of testimony and evidence, prosecutors tried to establish Vice President Dick Cheney as the first source of Libby's knowledge that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA and sent him on the trip.

Presenting on Thursday, Libby's defense team is expected to argue that any discrepancies in what Libby told investigators stem from his difficult role as a busy government official distracted by urgent national security matters.

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