Rice, 14 others, face subpoenas

Nov. 2, 2007 at 8:34 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- A U.S. judge ruled two ex-lobbyists who allegedly disclosed defense information can subpoena U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other officials.

Attorneys for Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, former lobbyists for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, seek to question Rice and 14 other current and former Bush administration officials, including national security adviser Stephen Hadley, in the two men's upcoming trial on charges they trafficked in classified information.

The defense seeks to prove federal officials routinely used the group to leak "sensitive, non-public" information to the press, foreign government officials and foreign policy advocates, The New York Sun reported.

"If true, the U.S. government's use of (AIPAC) for 'back channel' purposes may serve to exculpate defendants by negating the criminal states of mind the government must prove to convict defendants of the charged offenses," U.S. District Judge Thomas Ellis III wrote.

Defense attorneys also seek to subpoena former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz.

Prosecutors objected to most of the subpoenas, contending the witnesses' testimony would likely be irrelevant, repetitious of testimony expected from others and disruptive to government operations, the Sun reported.

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