Judge Denies Libby's Request to Drop Charges in CIA Leak Case

A federal judge refused Thursday to dismiss charges against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former top White House aide who was indicted on perjury and obstruction charges last year in the CIA leak scandal.

In a 31-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton turned down a motion by lawyers for Vice President Dick Cheney's onetime top assistant, who challenged the authority of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald to handle the case.

Click here to read the motion denial

Libby's lawyers had argued that Fitzgerald was given too much power — more than the attorney general — and that the appointment should have been made by the president with the Senate's approval.

Walton said Thursday he did not need to "look far" in the law to reject the claim by Libby's defense team. The judge said there is no question the attorney general can delegate any of his functions.

Then-Attorney General John Ashcroft had recused himself from the investigation because of his White House contacts. James Comey, who was deputy attorney general at the time, appointed Fitzgerald, giving him wide berth to conduct the investigation into who leaked the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame to reporters in 2003.