[JURIST] US special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald [official website; JURIST news archive] spent approximately three hours Thursday cross-examining the first witness presented by lawyers representing former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby [defense profile; JURIST news archive]. The witness, psychologist Elizabeth Loftus [faculty website], was called to persuade US District Judge Reggie Walton [official profile] to allow memory experts [JURIST report] to help with Libbys defense. While prosecutors claim that he lied, Libby blames faulty memory for the false statements made to investigators regarding his conversations with members of the press about former CIA operative Valerie Plame [JURIST news archive]. Walton has indicated that he was reluctant to allow such experts.
In his examination of Loftus, Fitzgerald challenged the validity of memory research, and dissected her work until she eventually admitted some errors and misstatements. Walton did not immediately rule on whether he will admit testimony and experts on memory at trial. Libby, Vice President Dick Cheneys former chief of staff, was indicted [text, PDF; JURIST report] last year for his role in the leak of Plames identity, which was revealed days after her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, criticized the Bush administration's pre-Iraq war intelligence. AP has more.