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Subpoena challenged in CIA leak case

Story Highlights

• Joseph Wilson called to testify for Lewis 'Scooter' Libby
• Wilson says his testimony couldn't help defense
• Libby accused of lying to investigators about outed CIA agent
• Former agent, Valerie Plame, is Wilson's wife
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson has filed a motion to quash the witness subpoena for him issued last week in the Lewis "Scooter" Libby trial, arguing the defense has no right to call a witness whose testimony would not help it.

"Mr. Wilson is such a witness," the motion to quash said. "He personally observed none of the events that led to Mr. Libby's indictment and he has no direct personal information regarding Mr. Libby's defense, i.e., the matters Mr. Libby worked on at the White House or Mr. Libby's memory or veracity.

"Thus, Mr. Wilson's testimony would not be relevant or material to the defense and, therefore, should not be compelled."

Libby's trial on charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements to investigators probing the 2003 disclosure of CIA officer Valerie Plame's identity is scheduled to begin in mid-January. Libby resigned as Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff on the day he was indicted in October 2005.

Syndicated columnist Robert Novak published Plame's name in July 2003 after Wilson, her husband, questioned whether the Bush administration had "twisted" the intelligence behind the invasion of Iraq, citing two "senior administration officials" for the disclosure.

The officials were later identified as Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who left office in 2005, and Karl Rove, President Bush's top political adviser. Both men have testified before special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's grand jury, and Rove's lawyers say he will not be charged.

Wilson had just gone public with an account of his CIA-sponsored trip to Africa in 2002 to investigate allegations that Iraq had tried to obtain nuclear fuel from Niger -- a claim he said he found unlikely. The flap forced the White House to admit that the Niger uranium claim should not have been included in the State of the Union speech that President Bush delivered just weeks before the invasion.

Libby is charged not with leaking Plame's identity but with lying to federal agents and a grand jury about his knowledge of Plame's confidential status at the CIA and his contacts with journalists who asked about Wilson's account.

Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson seeks to avoid testifying in a trial related to the exposure of his wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA operative.



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