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Leak trial to bleed
Leak trial to bleed Cheney
Washington, Oct. 29 (Reuters): The indictment of former top White House aide Lewis Libby in the CIA leak investigation will put vice-president Dick Cheney’s office at the centre of court proceedings, raising the spectre of a politically damaging trial for the beleaguered Bush administration.
Libby, who resigned yesterday as Cheney’s chief of staff after being indicted for obstructing justice, perjury and lying, is expected to make his first court appearance in the next week or so for an arraignment.
The indictment means the next stage of the case will play out in open court, in contrast to the secret two-year grand jury investigation directed by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald into the leak of a covert CIA operative’s identity.
Libby’s indictment represented the first criminal charges arising from the investigation, and Fitzgerald said the probe would continue. One key figure still under scrutiny is President George W. Bush’s top political adviser, Karl Rove, lawyers involved in the case said.
At the arraignment, Libby, 55, who faces up to 30 years in prison, is expected to plead not guilty, and the judge in the case could set a trial date.
Lawyers involved in the case said Cheney himself and other top White House officials named in the indictment could be called as witnesses. A trial would examine in detail how the administration sold the nation on the increasingly unpopular war in Iraq and countered its critics.
“It’s a horrible situation for the vice-president. Libby has been so close to Cheney,