July 31, 2006

Libby wants memory expert testimony in CIA leak case

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Lawyers for former White House aide
Lewis "Scooter" Libby asked a federal judge on Monday to allow
a memory expert to testify in their bid to show Libby may have
been confused or had a faulty memory in recalling conversations
in the CIA leak case.

Libby is charged with lying to investigators as they sought
to find out who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie
Plame in 2003 after her diplomat-husband accused the Bush
administration of manipulating intelligence to build its case
for invading Iraq.

"Mr. Libby will show that the snippets of conversation at
issue in this case took place amid a rush of pressing national
security matters that commanded his attention throughout his
long and stressful work day," his lawyers said in a 15-page
court filing.

They asked U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton to admit the
expert testimony of Dr. Robert Bjork, a memory expert and a
professor in the UCLA psychology department.

Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick
Cheney, has pleaded not guilty, and his trial is scheduled to
begin in January.

As national security advisor to Cheney, Libby's attention
"was intently focused on issues of grave importance, including
domestic terrorist threats, perilous conditions for American
troops and citizens abroad and emerging foreign policy crises,"
his lawyers said.

They said Bjork's testimony will show why these issues
"could have easily caused him to confuse or misremember minor
details of conversations" about Plame and her job at the CIA,
topics they said Libby did not consider significant at the