[JURIST] US District Judge Reggie B. Walton has ruled that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald [official website] will have to turn over documents essential to the I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby [defense profile; JURIST news archive] legal defense team regarding how a secret government intelligence report on Iraq was declassified. Walton's decision came in a hearing Friday concerning several Libby document requests in preparation for his trial on charges connected to the investigation [JURIST news archive] into the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity. Libby's attorney Theodore Wells maintained that President George W. Bush declassified the intelligence information and Vice President Dick Cheney authorized its dissemination before Libby allegedly leaked it to the media. Walton also ruled Friday that Fitzgerald will not have to turn over documents from government agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency [official website], US State Department [official website], and the White House regarding the 2002 trip to Niger taken by Plame's husband, former US Ambassador Joseph Wilson. Walton said he does not want Libby's defense team "to try the legitimacy of us going to war."
Wells also indicated Friday that he will call several witnesses when Libby's trial begins in January to testify that Wilson told them his wife was a CIA operative before her name was leaked. Libby faces charges of obstruction of justice and perjury [indictment, PDF; JURIST report] to which he pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] last November. AP has more. Reuters has additional coverage.