Jury begins deliberations in Libby trial

Feb. 21, 2007 at 8:54 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- The jury in the CIA leak case against former White House official I. Lewis Libby ended its first day of deliberation in Washington without reaching a verdict.

The jury began deliberating Wednesday after receiving instructions from U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton. Libby, former chief of staff to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, is charged with five felony counts of perjury and obstruction of justice, in connection with the leak of a CIA agent's identity in 2003.

Libby, 56, has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him, including that he lied to a federal grand jury and the FBI about his knowledge of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame.

Walton instructed jurors to weigh the possible validity of Libby's claim that his memory was faulty when he testified before a federal grand jury. Prosecutors presented several witnesses at Libby's trial who contradicted his version of how Plame's name was leaked to the media.

Prosecutors told jurors Libby lied to investigators to keep his job and protect the White House from political embarrassment, the Washington Post reported.

Libby could face up to three years in prison if convicted.

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