Vice President Dick Cheney will be called as a defense witness in the CIA leak case, an attorney for Cheney’s former chief of staff told a federal judge Tuesday.
“We’re calling the vice president,” attorney Ted Wells said in court. Wells represents defendant I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who is charged with perjury and obstruction.
Early last week, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said he did not expect the White House to resist if Cheney or other administration officials are called to testify in Libby’s trial, expected to begin in January.
Libby is accused of lying to investigators about what he told reporters regarding former CIA operative Valerie Plame. Plame’s identity was leaked to reporters around the time that her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, publicly criticized the Bush administration’s prewar intelligence on Iraq.
In addition to Cheney, other government officials and journalists are expected to be key witnesses in the trial, which is scheduled to start next month.
Former New York Times reporter Judith Miller and NBC News Washington bureau chief Tim Russert are expected to be prosecution witnesses. Libby’s lawyers said in court papers that several reporters will testify on Libby’s behalf.
Two unidentified reporters may resist testifying, Libby’s attorneys said, but they expect to resolve that issue before trial.
Libby also has sought a subpoena for the tape of Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward’s interview with former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Armitage has admitted he discussed Plame’s job with Woodward in 2003 but said it was a passing, inadvertent comment.
If admitted into evidence, the tape could be played at trial. The tape has been turned over to prosecutors, and Libby’s attorneys said they expect no objection to their subpoena.