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CIA Leak Players

A look at the major players in the perjury and obstruction trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney:

DEFENDANT

Libby once was among the most trusted officials at the White House. He was Cheney's chief of staff and an adviser to President Bush.

Today, Libby is one of the highest-ranking White House official indicted since the Watergate scandal. He faces charges of perjury and obstruction for allegedly lying to FBI agents and a federal grand jury in the CIA leak investigation.

Libby, 56, was known as "Cheney's Cheney." Just as Bush has Cheney as his most trusted behind-the-scenes adviser and problem-solver, Cheney had Libby. The two men became acquainted at the Pentagon when Cheney was defense secretary under the first President Bush. By 2000, Libby was working as a top adviser to Cheney in the presidential campaign, then followed him to the White House.

A Columbia University-trained lawyer who gained foreign policy expertise as an aide in the Defense and State departments, Libby was an expert on homeland security issues and weapons of mass destruction. This expertise made him one of the most influential advisers in the Bush White House.

Coupled with Libby's access to top administration officials, this expertise made him an attractive source for journalists wanting to know how the White House was responding to the Sept. 11 attacks and preparing for war in Iraq.

In 1996 Libby published the novel "The Apprentice" and, when the paperback edition came out in 2002, he told The New York Times that he occasionally wished for a quiet writer's life, away from politics.

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JUDGE

U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton does not fit neatly into a political box.

A former prosecutor who served as deputy drug czar under the first President Bush, Walton also spent time as a public defender and has spoken out against what he sees as unfair disparities between sentences for possession of crack and powder cocaine.

The same man who built a reputation for handing down stiff sentences is also known for counseling teenagers who share his hardscrabble upbringing.

Walton, a Republican, was one of the current president's first judicial nominees in 2001. Walton was introduced at his confirmation hearing by the District of Columbia's delegate, Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton. He was unanimously approved by the Senate.

The son of a steel worker, Walton grew up in Donora, Pa. He has spoken openly about occasionally packing a gun or a straight razor and getting into fights as a youth.

A star halfback in high school, Walton won an athletic scholarship to West Virginia State College, where he attracted the attention of professional football scouts. An ankle injury shattered those prospects, however, and Walton transformed himself into a serious student.

He worked his way through American University's Washington College of Law and, by age 30, was chief of the career criminal unit in the U.S. attorney's office in the nation's capital. When he was 32, President Reagan appointed him as a judge on the D.C. Superior Court.

Walton, 57, has worked hard to keep the Libby from being tried in the media. He has restricted what lawyers in the case may talk about outside court and admonished one for making comments that the judge said went too far.

Walton decided not to move the case to the courthouse's larger, more majestic ceremonial courtroom.

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PROSECUTOR

Patrick Fitzgerald made a name for himself as one of the leading prosecutors on terrorism and national security issues while in the U.S. attorney's office in New York. He was nominated to be U.S. attorney in Chicago in 2001; two years later, he was put in charge of the CIA leak case.

With the full authority of the attorney general, Fitzgerald spent more than two years investigating the leak of a CIA officer's name. He interviewed Bush, pored over classified documents and persuaded a judge to send a reporter to jail for not cooperating.

After all that, the veteran prosecutor did not bring a leak charge. Instead, he accused Libby of lying to the FBI and a federal grand jury.

But to those who know Fitzgerald, it was not a surprise.

"He's somebody who believes in doing the right thing and who believes in government," said Andrew McCarthy, a former colleague from Fitzgerald's days as a New York prosecutor.

That attitude, along with a relentless work ethic, has won Fitzgerald praise from law enforcement colleagues and the begrudging respect of defense lawyers -- even those who say he can be overzealous.

"I disagree with Pat on a lot of the core essentials in life, but when it comes to his work as a prosecutor, I generally respect Pat," said New York lawyer Stanley Cohen. "Pat's whole position is he really believes in the system. If it's gonna work, the rules have to apply."

Fitzgerald does not fit the mold of a typical Washington special prosecutor. He ran his investigation on a tight budget and has said very little publicly about the case, saying prosecutors should "charge someone or be quiet."

Born in Brooklyn to Irish immigrants, the 46-year-old prosecutor has an everyman quality about him in the courtroom. He does not swagger or play for the sound bite. If he does crack a joke to lighten the mood, friends say it is usually at his own expense.

Fitzgerald drew criticism from journalism group for demanding the grand jury testimony of reporters. His demands prompted a federal judge to send Judith Miller, then working for The New York Times, to jail for 85 days for refusing to testify about her conversations with Libby. Fitzgerald threatened to repeat that tactic in an unrelated Chicago-based investigation into who told Miller and Times reporter Philip Shenon about an Islamic charity investigation.

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DEFENSE TEAM

As a lawyer himself and political veteran, Libby knew the legal landscape as well as anyone. He has hired Theodore V. Wells Jr. and William H. Jeffress Jr., two big-name defense lawyers.

Between them, Wells and Jeffress have represented former President Nixon, former Sen. Robert Torricelli, D-N.J., tobacco companies, former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy, former Labor Secretary Raymond Donovan and former Rep. Floyd Flake, D-N.Y.

Jeffress and Wells have markedly different courtroom styles.

Jeffress, whose practice is based in Washington, is known for his quiet, Southern personality. Wells, a New Yorker, is more outgoing.

Both men have a reputation for extraordinary research.

Just out of Yale Law School, Jeffress clerked for U.S. District Judge Gerhard A. Gesell and Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart. While working for Gesell, Jeffress helped write the landmark opinion that allowed The Washington Post to publish the Pentagon Papers.

Jeffress went on to win a 1978 Supreme Court ruling for Nixon blocking the release of the Watergate tapes. Jeffress won an acquittal for Tyson Foods Inc. executive Archibald Schaffer in an independent counsel investigation and got a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia's defense minister dismissed.

Wells, who has business and law degrees from Harvard, has been known to hunker down in a hotel room with boxes full of documents, only to emerge knowing the case inside and out.

He shepherded Torricelli through a three-year campaign finance investigation, beat back tax charges against Flake and won an acquittal in the corruption cases against Espy and Donovan.

Libby's legal team also includes John Cline, a leading expert on the use of classified information at trial. Libby's high-dollar lawyers are being paid largely by donors to a legal defense fund, which has raised more than $3 million.

While the CIA leak case has obvious political undertones, Libby's hiring decisions do not. Libby is a loyal Republican. Both Wells and Jeffress have given to Democratic causes; Wells was treasurer for former New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bill Bradley's presidential campaign.

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