WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- The former chief of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's staff lied over and over to the FBI about the leak of a CIA agent's identity, a federal prosecutor said.
I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's trial on five counts of perjury, making false statements and obstructing an investigation began Tuesday with opening statements, The Washington Post reported.
Libby is not charged with actually disclosing Valerie Plame's identity to reporters. But the suggestion that Libby and Cheney blew Plame's cover as part of a political effort to discredit her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, is the subtext of the trial.
"How could we reach a point where the chief of staff for the vice president was repeatedly lying to federal investigators?" Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald asked the jury. "That's what this case is all about."
Fitzgerald said that Libby deliberately lied when he told investigators he learned that Plame was a CIA agent from Tim Russert of NBC and then gossiped about it to other reporters. He said Cheney was Libby's actual source of information about Plame.
Theodore Wells, Libby's lawyer, said his client made honest mistakes while trying to give "his best good-faith recollection."