Lawyers for a former top aide to US Vice President Dick Cheney told a federal judge on Friday they want to subpoena journalists and news organizations for documents they may have related to the leak of a CIA operative's name.
In a joint filing with prosecutors, lawyers for Lewis "Scooter" Libby, 55, warned US District Judge Reggie Walton that a trial likely will be delayed because of their strategy to seek more subpoenas of reporters' notes and other records.
Libby was indicted last year on charges that he lied to FBI agents and a federal grand jury about how he learned of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity and when he subsequently told reporters.
Plame's identity was revealed in July 2003 by columnist Robert Novak after her husband, former US ambassador Joseph Wilson, accused the Bush administration of twisting intelligence about Iraq's efforts to buy uranium "yellowcake" in Niger. The year before, the CIA had sent Wilson to Africa to determine the accuracy of the uranium reports; he concluded they were untrue.
Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, in announcing the charges against Libby, portrayed Cheney's former chief of staff as the first government official to have shared Plame's name and her work at the CIA with reporters in the summer of 2003.
Libby's defense team did not disclose the names of reporters or new organizations it wants to subpoena.
The filing provides the most concrete indication yet that a large part of Libby's trial strategy will be identifying other government officials who knew Plame was a CIA operative and told reporters about it.
The kind of subpoena cited is for documents or records, not testimony. Such subpoenas usually require records to be turned over before trial so the defense team would have a chance to review them.