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Star Character Witnesses at Libby Trial

Robert Novak, left, and his attorney James Hamilton leave court after Novak testified in the Scooter Libby trial.
Robert Novak, left, and his attorney James Hamilton leave court after Novak testified in the Scooter Libby trial. (By Alex Wong -- Getty Images)

"Two," Sanger amended.

"I believe you're the third Pulitzer Prize winner this morning," Fitzgerald observed dryly.

By the time it got to The Post's Glenn Kessler, the defense lawyer was sheepish. "I pretty much have to ask you this question: Have you won any awards?"

Pincus, wearing his reporter's dog tag around his collar and his tie loose, had the day's biggest revelation: Fleischer "swerved off" from the topic of a conversation in 2003 and told him about Plame's identity. As recently as two weeks ago, Fleischer testified otherwise, saying it's "absolutely correct" that he did not tell Pincus about the CIA worker.

"You've not been prosecuted for perjury?" Jeffress asked at the time.

"Absolutely correct," Fleischer answered.

Novak, whose column identifying Plame started the whole scandal, explained that while Rove and Armitage spoke to him about Plame, he didn't remember whether Libby did, because "I kind of discard unhelpful conversations in my memory bank." His memory bank did, however, retain the information that Plame's husband, Joe Wilson, was "obnoxious."

Novak reminded the jury that as a CNN contributor in 2003, he "was on about four different shows, 'Crossfire' included." But even in a crowded field, Woodward easily qualified as the star witness; the jurors were rapt as he gave them a pro bono journalism course.

"You're familiar with a term called 'off the record'?" Jeffress asked.

Woodward was. "It's confirmation for you and your editors but should not be in the story," he explained. He further explained how "it is my habit to bring a list of questions from one interview to the next because they reflect information I'm getting." And he admitted that this backfired in the case of Cheney, who balked at the 17-page list of questions titled "Q Cheney" and called off the interview. "I overplayed my hand," Woodward said.

Defense lawyers won permission to play for the jury a tape of his interview with Armitage. It showed a Woodward interview style that, in contrast to his broad narratives, is equal parts staccato, gossipy and profane.

Armitage: "His wife's a [expletive] analyst at the agency."

Woodward: "It's still weird."

Armitage: It's perfect . . . she is a WMD analyst out there."

Woodward: "Oh, she is."

Armitage: "Yeah.

Woodward: "Oh, I see."

Armitage: "[Expletive] look at it."

Woodward: "Oh I see. I didn't [expletive] . . ."

Armitage: "His wife is in the agency and is a WMD analyst. How about that [expletive]?"

The jurors chuckled as they listened to the scrubbed transcript.

"You redacted some words that were offensive," Woodward observed.

"Expletives? Yes," Jeffress answered.

Woodward seemed disappointed. "In the raw," he said, "it has a little more fire."


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