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Federal judge orders Cheney aide to testify in VP records lawsuit

[JURIST] The US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] on Friday ordered [opinion, PDF] a top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney [official profile; JURIST news archive] to make herself available to be deposed in a case over preservation of vice presidential records. A Washington DC advocacy group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) [advocacy website] is suing Cheney and the executive office of the president for release of the records, which they allege the Bush administration is trying to keep from the public. The court ruling orders Cheney aide Claire O'Donnell to give testimony in the lawsuit. Cheney had previously moved to block the deposition, arguing that preservation of records should only be limited to his role as an official who presides over the senate or any tasks related to assignments given by the President. AP has more.

In September, the court issued a preliminary injunction [JURIST report] requiring the preservation of all of Cheney's official records, finding that his office failed to maintain records as required by law and that they incorrectly interpreted the Presidential Records Act of 1978. In another lawsuit filed by CREW in July, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit [official website], rejected a Bush administration appeal [JURIST report] of a 2007 order requiring that White House visitor logs be released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [text]. Last year, the US House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform [official website] released documents showing that Cheney had exempted his office [JURIST report] from an executive order requiring executive branch officials to submit annual reports to ensure that classified information is properly secured.

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