[JURIST] KGW.com is reporting that the federal grand jury empaneled in the CIA leak probe [JURIST news archive] has handed up an indictment for I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby [official profile], Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, on charges of obstruction of justice, making a false statement and perjury. The charges follow a two-year investigation that began when the identity of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame [JURIST news archive] was revealed days after her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, criticized the Bush administration's pre-Iraq war intelligence. US Department of Justice Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald [official website] has scheduled a press conference for 2 PM ET Friday. Watch a live webcast, via C-SPAN.
1:05 PM ET - According to the five-count indictment, Libby lied to investigators about how and when he learned of Plame's identity. Libby had initially told the grand jury that he first learned of Plame's identity from journalists, but earlier this week, it was reported that Cheney was the first person to discuss Plame with Libby [JURIST report]. Additionally, there had been speculation [JURIST report] earlier this week that the grand jury would also return an indictment for top presidential advisor Karl Rove [official profile]. Earlier Friday, however, Rove's lawyer said that he had been told by Fitzgerald's office that there will no indictment against Rove [JURIST report] at this time, though investigators will continue their probe into his conduct. AP has more.
1:14 PM ET - KGW.com is reporting that Libby has resigned his White House position.
1:20 PM ET - Fitzgerald has now released the indictment [PDF text]. According to an accompanying statement from the DOJ Office of Special Counsel:
Senior White House official I. Lewis Libby was indicted today on obstruction of justice, false statement and perjury charges for allegedly lying about how and when in 2003 he learned and subsequently disclosed to reporters then-classified information concerning the employment of Valerie Wilson by the Central Intelligence Agency. Libby was charged with one count of obstruction of justice, two counts of perjury and two counts of making false statements in a five-count indictment returned today by a federal grand jury as its term expired, announced Justice Department Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald. ...Read the full DOJ press release [PDF].
The charges allege that Libby lied to FBI agents who interviewed him on October 14 and November 26, 2003; committed perjury while testifying under oath before the grand jury on March 5 and March 24, 2004; and engaged in obstruction of justice by impeding the grand jury's investigation into the unauthorized disclosure - or "leaking" - of Valerie Wilsons affiliation with the CIA to various reporters in the spring of 2003. ...
If convicted, the crimes charged in the indictment carry the following maximum penalties on each count: obstruction of justice - 10 years in prison, and making false statements and perjury -5 years in prison, and each count carries a maximum fine of $250,000, making the maximum penalty for conviction on all counts 30 years in prison and a $1.25 million fine. Note, however, that the Court would determine the appropriate sentence to be imposed.