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Jury Hears Testimony in Libby Perjury Trial

Testimony began this week in the trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice for lying to a grand jury about the leak of former CIA agent Valerie Plame's name to the media in 2003. A reporter discusses the trial.

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  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    The trial of Lewis Scooter Libby, the vice president's former chief of staff, began this week at the federal courthouse in Washington. Libby is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice for lying during a federal investigation into the leaking of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity to the press in 2003.

    Plame is the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who publicly challenged evidence the Bush administration cited for invading Iraq.

    Carol Leonnig is covering the trial for The Washington Post. She joins us now for an update.

    Carol, the trial opened this week with a real surprise from the defense team. Explain the case that they're trying to make.

  • CAROL LEONNIG, THE WASHINGTON POST:

    Well, hello, Jeff.

    And, yes, it was a surprise. The defense for Scooter Libby, Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, said that, in addition to Mr. Libby not having great memories and probably misspeaking about his conversations with reporters to a grand jury, he also believed that he had been a victim, hung out to dry by the White House, that was eager to save their top political strategist, Karl Rove.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    And, as you said, up to now, he had been — they had been saying that he had forgotten these calls.

  • CAROL LEONNIG:

    Yes.

    Remember, if you will, that Scooter Libby is accused of lying to the FBI, lying to a grand jury, and trying to obstruct a criminal investigation into who leaked information to reporters about a covert or a secret CIA officer, Valerie Plame, to the press.

    And he is saying that: I did misspeak, and I might have misremembered, but I had a very stressful job, with a lot of national security concerns, al-Qaida bombings, potential assassinations of the president, foreign dignitaries, and, really, in his view, reporter conversations were a snippet of conversation that was insignificant to him.

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