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Court rejects broad bid for documents in CIA leak case

[JURIST] US District Judge Reggie B. Walton ruled [PDF] Friday that most of the government documents sought by former Vice-Presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby [defense profile] and his defense team were not closely tied to the narrow issue of his case and would not be released to him. Libby has pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to obstruction of justice and perjury charges [PDF indictment; JURIST report] in connection with the investigation into the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity [JURIST news archive] to the media. The judge denied Libby access to information about a CIA fact-finding trip Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, made to Niger in 2002 to determine whether Iraq was seeking nuclear weapons material there. Walton also blocked Libby from obtaining information about what US officials may have known at the time or told others about the CIA position Plame held.

Walton said the trial would not turn into a "forum for debating the accuracy of Ambassador Wilson's statements, the propriety of the Iraq war or related matters leading up to the war" but would focus on the limited issue of whether Libby lied to both a grand jury and federal agents about his conversations with journalists about Plame. The New York Times has more.

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