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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Libby Leak Trial May Be Delayed

The trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, could be delayed, based on an appeal that a special prosecutor plans to seek in the case.

Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald notified the court last night that he plans to appeal U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton's ruling this month on the standards the judge will use for determining which classified materials Libby may use as evidence in defending himself. Libby faces trial on charges of perjury, lying to investigators and obstruction of justice.

With the trial set to begin in early January, the U.S. Court of Appeals has only one month to consider the matter as do the prosecutors and defense to work out other pretrial disputes over classified materials and the admissibility of other evidence. The substance of Walton's Nov. 15 ruling is sealed because of the classified materials it discusses.

Libby was indicted in October 2005 on charges that he provided false information about his 2003 conversations with reporters about a CIA operative.

The case stems from a two-year-long investigation Fitzgerald conducted to determine if senior Bush administration officials illegally leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame as retribution for her husband's public criticism of the administration's justification for going to war in Iraq.

U.S. Soldier Killed in Korean War Identified

The remains of a U.S. soldier killed in the Korean War have been identified by American forensic experts, 13 years after they were returned by North Korea.

The soldier was Pfc. Charles H. Long of Durand, Ill. He will be buried Saturday in Durand, a Pentagon official said.

Long's remains, along with his Social Security and other identification cards, were returned by the North Koreans in 1993. They were among an estimated 148 sets of remains returned that year. Between 1990 and 1994, more than 250 sets of remains were returned by the North Koreans; Long is only the 17th to be positively identified, said Larry Greer, a spokesman for the Pentagon's office of POW and MIA affairs.

More than 33,000 U.S. troops were killed in the Korean War, which began in June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea.

Hastings Makes Pitch For Intelligence Post

A U.S. lawmaker ousted as a federal judge in 1989 on corruption charges tried to convince Democratic colleagues he deserves to head a congressional committee designed to help protect America's security.

Rep. Alcee L. Hastings of Florida, elected without opposition to an eighth term on Nov. 7, maintains he did nothing wrong and asked fellow Democrats in the House to review what he denounced as the unfounded case against him. A chairman is to be selected next month.

"I implore you . . . to please give this matter as much time as you can," Hastings wrote in a letter to colleagues Monday that was released yesterday.

In 1981, Hastings was accused of soliciting a $150,000 bribe in return for a light sentence for two men convicted of racketeering.

A jury cleared Hastings, but a panel of judges urged the House to impeach him, which it did in 1988. A year later, the Senate convicted Hastings and removed him from the bench. In 1992, he was elected to Congress.

-- From Staff Reports and News Services


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