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Defense rests in Libby trial

[JURIST] On the same day the defense rested in the perjury trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby [defense website; JURIST news archive], US District Judge Reggie B. Walton on Wednesday ruled against Libby on several issues after it became clear that Libby was not going to testify in his self-defense, as defense lawyers had previously said he would. Libby's defense theory has been that he was told Plame was a CIA agent by Vice President Dick Cheney on June 12, 2003, but that he forgot this information in the milieu of the other issues he dealt with on a daily basis as Cheney's chief of staff and national security advisor. US Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald [official website] had agreed to tell the jury about some of the national security threats Libby dealt with around June 2003 on the condition that he could cross-examine Libby on the subject of his memory. Walton, upon learning that Libby would not testify as expected, barred all evidence on Libby's state of mind, and told the jury to ignore a statement made by Cheney they had already heard, that Libby "worked long hours, received daily intelligence briefings and attended many meetings concerning important matters of national security." Closing arguments begin next Thursday. AP has more. The New York Times has additional coverage.

On Monday, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Novak testified [JURIST report] that Libby did not leak Plame's identity to him. It was Novak's July 2003 column that publicly outed Plame, thus igniting the CIA leak scandal [JURIST news archive]. Libby is not charged with leaking Plame's identity, but instead faces perjury and obstruction of justice charges [indictment, PDF; JURIST report] in connection with the investigation into the leak. The prosecution rested [JURIST report] its case in the trial late last week.

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