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Federal judge grants Libby access to personal notes

[JURIST] US District Judge Reggie B. Walton [official profile] Friday granted defense attorneys for I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby [defense profile; JURIST news archive] access to Libby's personal handwritten notes taken over a nine-month period around the time that the identity of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame was first published in the media. Libby's defense team plans to use the notes to support Libby's claim that he did not intentionally mislead investigators when he told them where he learned of the identity of Valerie Plame. Libby faces charges [PDF indictment; JURIST report] of perjury and obstruction of justice in the CIA leak case [JURIST news archive; Libby defense website].

In a setback to Libby's defense, however, Judge Walton expressed skepticism about the defense's request [JURIST report] to turn over the highly classified intelligence documents Libby had seen while serving as Chief of Staff and National Security Advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney. Walton noted that even if he granted access to the documents, the Bush administration would not agree to release them, and he ventured that Libby's personal notes could be sufficient to remind Libby of his activities during the time in question. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has argued that the request for the highly classified documents amounts to "graymail" [Wikipedia backgrounder]; but Libby's defense team continues to reject [court brief, PDF; JURIST report that contention. The New York Times has more.

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