No Decision Until August on Possible Delay of CIA Leak Trial

A federal judge plans to wait until late August to decide whether to delay former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's trial on perjury and obstruction charges in the CIA leak investigation.

Libby's lead attorney, Theodore V. Wells Jr., asked for the trial, now scheduled to begin Jan. 8, to be rescheduled for Feb. 12. Wells said he is worried that he won't be done with an unrelated trial, set to begin in September in California.

In an order Friday, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton said he will wait to rule on the request until the judge in the California case holds a status conference Aug. 31 and sets a trial schedule.

Meantime, Walton ordered lawyers in the Libby case to keep their calendars open for the trial to begin between Jan. 8 and Feb. 12 and the four to five weeks following each of those dates.

Libby was charged last October with lying to the FBI and a federal grand jury about how he learned and when he subsequently told three reporters about CIA officer Valerie Plame. He faces five counts of perjury, false statements and obstruction of justice.

Several news organizations wrote about Plame after syndicated columnist Robert Novak named her in a column on July 14, 2003. Novak's column appeared eight days after Plame's husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, alleged in an opinion piece in The New York Times that the administration had twisted prewar intelligence on Iraq to justify going to war.