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Thursday, November 03, 2005

BBC NEWS | Americas | Ex-White House aide due in court

BBC NEWS | Americas | Ex-White House aide due in court Ex-White House aide due in court
One of the most powerful officials of the Bush administration until he resigned last week, Lewis Libby, is due to make his first appearance in court.

Mr Libby, who was chief of staff to Vice-President Dick Cheney, faces five counts of perjury, making false statements and obstructing justice.

He denies the charges, which arise from an investigation into the leaking of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity.

Her husband - a former ambassador - had criticised the case for invading Iraq.

The BBC's Justin Webb in Washington says court proceedings in the US capital are not routinely televised, so the administration should be spared the embarrassment of TV pictures showing a senior official in the dock.

But he adds that this day is still an unhappy one for the Bush administration.

Trial date

There is still no word on whether the president's chief political aide, Karl Rove, will also face legal action. His role in the affair is under review.

Mr Libby is expected to plead not guilty and be granted continuing bail.

A date is likely to be set for his full trial.

At that trial, several White House witnesses may be called, including Mr Cheney.

Mr Libby faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted but it is widely believed that, if jailed, Mr Libby would be pardoned by President George W Bush when he leaves office.

Story from BBC NEWS:

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