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Another grand jury to get CIA leak case

Associated Press
Published November 19, 2005

WASHINGTON - The special prosecutor who has been investigating the leak of a CIA operative's identity is continuing the investigation and will present additional evidence to another grand jury, according to court papers filed Friday.

Patrick Fitzgerald declined to comment when asked whether his investigation was ramping back up after last month's indictment of a top White House aide. The term has expired for the grand jury that indicted I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby on perjury and obstruction charges.

The investigation appeared to have cooled with Libby's indictment on Oct. 28.

But earlier this week, the Washington Post's Bob Woodward disclosed he had learned the CIA operative's identity from a top Bush administration official before another journalist had published Valerie Plame's name.

The testimony from Woodward, who shared this information under oath with Fitzgerald on Monday, contradict Fitzgerald's earlier portrayal of Libby as the first government official to leak Plame's identity to reporters.

At a hearing Friday, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton warned Fitzgerald and defense attorneys about making too many statements to the news media.

"I've never issued a gag order," said Walton, a former prosecutor. "I don't want to in this case."

But, Walton said, "I do have concerns that statements are being made . . . usurping what ultimately I am going to have to decide about what is evidence in this case."

"I hope that a word to the wise is sufficient," the judge said.

Walton made the comments during a hearing at which Fitzgerald and media lawyers told the judge they had reached a compromise on protective orders that the prosecutor had sought for classified and unclassified evidence in the case against Libby.

In documents filed before the hearing, Fitzgerald said an order keeping evidence under wraps was needed "because the investigation is continuing and because the investigation will involve proceedings before a different grand jury" from the one that indicted Libby.

Libby, 55, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, is accused of lying to FBI agents and a grand jury about how he learned about Plame's identity and her work at the CIA and when he subsequently shared that information with reporters.

Dow Jones & Co., the Associated Press and CNN had sought Friday's hearing to fight an earlier proposal by Fitzgerald that would have barred Libby and his legal team from publicly disclosing "all materials produced by the government."

[Last modified November 19, 2005, 01:08:18]

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