Cheney Will Testify in Plamegate

“Scooter” Libby’s defense team said it intends to call Vice President Dick Cheney to testify on its behalf in the high-profile perjury trial that resulted from an investigation into the leaking of Valerie Plame’s identity. The vice president’s spokeswoman indicated that he would comply with the request: “We’ve cooperated fully in this matter and will continue to do so in fairness to the parties involved.”

New York Times:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 – Vice President Dick Cheney will be summoned as a defense witness in the perjury and obstruction of justice trial of his former chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby Jr., which is scheduled to begin next month, a defense lawyer said today.

The decision was announced at a hearing in federal district court by Theodore Wells, a lawyer for Mr. Libby. “We’re calling the Vice President,” Mr. Wells said.

Mr. Cheney has been a looming presence in the C.I.A. leak case from the start. His appearance as a defense witness would keep the vice president and the White House in the foreground of Mr. Libby’s criminal trial. It would expose him to cross examination, and could raise questions about precedents for a sitting vice president to appear at a criminal trial while in office.

After the hearing, a vice presidential spokeswoman, Lee Anne McBride, said Mr. Cheney would not resist the request for his testimony. “We’ve cooperated fully in this matter and will continue to do so in fairness to the parties involved. And as we’ve stated previously we’re not going to comment further on the legal proceedings.”

The lawyers gave no indication at the hearing about the testimony they would seek to elicit from Mr. Cheney, but evidence in the case suggests that Mr. Cheney played a central role in events that led to the leak investigation.

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