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Judge allows public release of Libby grand jury recordings

[JURIST] US District Judge Reggie B. Walton [official profile] Monday authorized public release of audio recordings of the secret grand jury testimony of former vice-presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby [defense website; JURIST news archive] after they are played at his trial. While Walton expressed concerns about releasing the tapes during the trial, but federal court rules encourage disclosure. One of Libby's defense lawyers, William Jeffress, nonetheless said that the release of the recordings "seriously threatens Mr. Libby's right to a fair trial." Walton had previously denied a request [JURIST report] from several news organizations seeking the daily release of audio recordings of arguments and testimony.

Last week, US Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald [official profile] played portions of White House briefing room videos, which Fitzgerald said show Libby's eagerness to publicly conceal conversations [JURIST report] he had with reporters about former CIA operative Valerie Plame. Libby is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice [indictment, PDF; JURIST report] in connection with the investigation into the leak of Plame's identity [JURIST news archive]. AP has more.

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