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Jury Selection Begins in Libby Trial


A jury is being selected in the perjury trial of former White House aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who stands accused of lying to investigators probing the leak of the identity of former covert CIA officer Valerie Plame. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports from Washington.

At one time, Lewis Libby was one of the most influential men in Washington, serving as Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff and as an adviser to President Bush.

But Libby now stands accused of lying, perjury and obstruction of justice, in connection with the investigation into the so-called CIA leak case.

Libby allegedly lied to FBI agents trying to find out what he told journalists about former covert CIA officer Valerie Plame. Plame is married to former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who criticized the Bush administration's justification for going to war in Iraq.

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has been investigating whether Bush administration officials leaked Valerie Plame's CIA status as a way of retaliating against her husband.

Libby has denied misleading investigators in the case. He says he was too busy with his regular duties to remember what he told reporters and simply misspoke to FBI investigators who were probing his role in the case.

Among those expected to testify on Libby's behalf is Vice President Cheney. Historians believe this will be the first time a sitting vice president will testify in a criminal case.

Last September, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage acknowledged that he was the original source of the leak about Valerie Plame's covert status at the CIA.

Dozens of potential jurors in the trial were asked questions that included their views of the Bush administration and the war in Iraq. The trial is expected to last several weeks.

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