The Wilsons Launch Civil Suit Against Cheney, Rove, Libby

By: E&P Staff

Valerie Plame Wilson, her husband Ambassador Joseph Wilson and their counsel, Christopher Wolf of Proskauer Rose LLP, will hold a news conference at 10 a.m. EDT on Friday at the National Press Club in Washington, DC 20045 to explain the filing of a civil lawsuit today against I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice-President Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, according to a statement by the lawyers.

The complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, obrtained by E&P, charges (as its heading puts it) “First and Fifth Amendment Violations, Civil Rights Conspiracy, Failure to Prevent Civil Rights Violations, Public Disclosure of Private Facts, and Civil Conspiracy.”

According to some reports earlier this week, the three-year statute of limitations for filing such a case — from the time columnist Robert Novak outed Valerie Wilson’s classified CIA employment — was about to run out.

The suit accuses the defendants of violating the Wilsons’ constitutional and other legal rights as a result of “a conspiracy among current and former high-level officials in the White House” to “discredit, punish and seek revenge against” Joseph Wilson for publicly disputing statements made by President Bush in his 2003 State of the Union address justifying the war in Iraq.

As a result of Cheney, Libby and Rove’s conduct, the suit claims that the Wilsons have suffered violations of their rights guaranteed under the United States Constitution and by laws of the District of Columbia.

The complaint specifies that each of the Wilsons has been deprived of their First and Fifth Amendment rights; each has suffered a gross invasion of their privacy; each has been impaired in pursuing professional opportunities; and that they fear for their safety and the safety of their children as a result of the wrongful public disclosures.

In addition, the complaint alleges that Valerie Wilson was impaired in her ability to carry out her duties at the CIA, and to pursue her career at the agency in further service to her country, as she had planned. While no specific dollar amount is requested, the suit seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages and attorneys’ fees and costs.

The Joseph and Valerie Wilson Legal Support Trust has been established. Funds from the trust will help the Wilsons pay the substantial legal costs.

Excerpts From the complaint:

“The lawsuit concerns the intentional and malicious exposure by senior officials of the federal government of one such human source at the CIA, Valerie Plame Wilson, whose job it was to gather intelligence to make the nation safer, and who risked her life for her country.”

“The Defendants reached an agreement to discredit, punish, and seek revenge against the Plaintiffs . . . . Said agreement was motivated by an invidiously discriminatory animus towards those who had publicly criticized the administration’s stated justifications for going to war with Iraq.”

“The Defendants chose not to address publicly, directly, and on the merits why they may have thought Mr. Wilson was wrong or unfair in his statements on the President’s misstatements. Rather, they embarked on an anonymous ‘whispering campaign’ designed to discredit and injure the Plaintiffs and to deter other critics from publicly speaking out.”

“The Defendants fraudulently concealed the existence of the Plaintiffs’ cause of action . . . by, among other things, giving false or misleading testimony to federal law enforcement personnel and/or the federal grand jury empanelled to investigate the unlawful publication of Plaintiff Valerie Plame Wilson’s classified CIA employment . . . .”

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