Politico on November 15, 2011 released the following:
Posted by Josh Gerstein
“Former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be required to testify live and in person at the trial of a former Central Intelligence Agency officer accused of leaking top-secret information about U.S. efforts to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program, a federal judge has ruled.
Prosecutors want to tell jurors in the case against ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling about a White House meeting in April 2003 involving then-National Security Adviser Rice, then-CIA Director George Tenet along with New York Times reporter James Risen and then-DC bureau chief of the Times Jill Abramson. Court records indicate At the session, Rice and Tenet pleaded with Abramson and Risen not to publish information Risen had obtained about the CIA effort to give Iran flawed nuclear designs.
Prosecutors asked U.S. District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema to allow them to show the jury talking points Rice used at the session warning of the grave consequences that could flow from publishing details of the CIA operation. However, the prosecution indicated it wanted to show the jury the talking points without calling Rice as a witness.
In a little-noticed order last month, Brinkema rejected that effort, writing that the prosecution’s motion was “denied to the extent that the Government seeks to admit Dr. Rice’s written talking points in place of her testimony.”
Rice, who is on a publicity tour to promote her new book, “No Higher Honor,” did not respond to messages seeking comment for this post. In a written declaration filed in court by prosecutors, Rice said she could not testify that she delivered the still-secret talking points “word for word as written,” but that she “would have adhered closely to” them.
The defense’s position on Rice’s testimony remains under seal pending a classification review. However, the confrontation clause in the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution usually requires that witnesses in a criminal case testify live in the courtroom.
The Times never published Risen’s story. However, he turned it into a chapter for a book he published in 2006, “State of War.” Sterling is accused of violating the Espionage Act by leaking top-secret information about the CIA effort to Risen.
Prosecutors have suggested they may try to make some hay of the fact that the Times agreed to suppress the story, but Risen deemed it appropriate to publish in his book, albeit three years later. Abramson, who was elevated in June to executive editor of the Times, has not commented publicly on the decision about Risen’s story.
If Rice is required to testify at Sterling’s trial, it probably won’t be for a while. A trial date set last month was scuttled at the last minute after prosecutors decided to appeal several of Brinkema’s rulings.
The appeals involve Brinkema’s ruling that Risen need not testify about his confidential sources and, as NPR first reported last week, another decision barring two prosecution witnesses because prosecutors belatedly disclosed information about them to the defense.”
Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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