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Cheney, Former Aide Face Civil Lawsuit in CIA Leak Case


U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and his former chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby face a civil lawsuit in a CIA leak case tied to the U.S. justification for the war in Iraq.

Libby was found guilty Tuesday on four of five counts of lying, perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with the investigation into who leaked the identity of former covert CIA officer Valerie Plame. She is married to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who accused the Bush administration of manipulating intelligence reports to justify the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

Plame's lawyers are pursuing a civil case against Cheney, Libby, President Bush's chief political strategist Karl Rove and former Assistant Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Plame and Wilson are seeking unspecified monetary damages for violating their constitutional rights by allegedly retaliating against them.

Wilson says the vice president led a concerted White House effort to discredit him after he exposed the truth about the administration's justification for the Iraq war.

The Washington Post reports arguments in the Plame civil case are scheduled for May in U.S. District Court.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said President Bush was saddened for Libby and his family and respects the jury's verdict.

Upon hearing this, Wilson called on the president to express sorrow to his wife, saying her "career was destroyed."

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid welcomed the Libby verdict, saying it was about time someone in the Bush administration was held accountable for manipulating pre-war intelligence on Iraq and discrediting war critics.

Ted Wells, Libby's attorney, says he intends to file a motion for a new trial. If it is denied, he says he will appeal the convictions.

Libby could face up to 25 years in prison and more than $1 million in fines, though legal experts say he is more likely to receive a much shorter sentence.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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