Wednesday, February 21, 2007

CIA Leak Case Turned Over to Jury

WASHINGTON (AP) - Jurors began deliberating Wednesday in the perjury and obstruction trial of former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, is charged with lying and obstructing the investigation into the 2003 leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity.

Jurors heard about an hour of legal instructions from U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton on Wednesday morning before beginning deliberations shortly before 11:30 a.m. They heard a full day of closing arguments Tuesday after a monthlong trial.

The jury of eight women and four men must be unanimous before returning a verdict on the five charges against Libby. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted, though he'd likely get far less under federal sentencing guidelines.

Plame is married to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who emerged in mid-2003 as an outspoken critic of the Bush administration's case for the Iraq war. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald says Libby learned about Plame from Cheney and other officials in June 2003 and relayed it to reporters.

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