[JURIST] An attorney representing Valerie Plame, the undercover operative whose revealed identity precipitated the CIA leak scandal [JURIST news archive], announced Tuesday he would use legal precedent from former President Bill Clinton's sexual harassment trial in a bid to force Vice President Dick Cheney and White House aide Karl Rove to testify in Plame's lawsuit [JURIST report] against Cheney, Rove and former vice-presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby [defense profile]. In the 1997 Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit against President Clinton, the US Supreme Court ruled [opinion text] that government officials do not have immunity "beyond the scope of any action taken in an official capacity." Plame's attorney, Joseph Cotchett, said that defense attorneys will have to make an argument that leaking Plame's name to the media, if the defendants did so, was part of their government duties.
In the suit, Plame asserts that Cheney, Rove, Libby and 10 unnamed administration officials violated her rights to privacy, free speech, and equal protection under the US Constitution, claiming that the defendants conspired to expose Plame, threatening her career and endangering her family. Plame contends that the defendants revealed her identity as an undercover CIA operative in retaliation for the statements made by her husband, former US ambassador Joseph Wilson, in which he denied that Saddam Hussein had attempted to purchase materials for a nuclear weapon in Niger, as the Bush administration had claimed. Libby, the only government official facing criminal prosecution in the scandal, pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] in November to charges of obstruction of justice and perjury [indictment, PDF; JURIST report], and some believe President Bush may pardon him [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.