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Context of 'January 31, 2007: Juror Excused from Libby Trial'

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Sibel Edmonds.Sibel Edmonds. [Source: Linda Spillers/ Getty]US District Judge Reggie B. Walton, appointed by George W. Bush, dismisses Sibel Edmonds’ lawsuit (see June 2002) against the Justice Department, accepting the government’s argument that allowing the case to proceed would jeopardize national security (Bridis 7/6/2004; Bohn 7/7/2004) and infringe upon its October 2002 declaration (see October 18, 2002) that classified everything related to Edmonds’ case. Walton refuses to explain his ruling, insisting that to do so would expose sensitive secrets. “The Court finds that the plaintiff is unable to establish her First Amendment, Fifth Amendment, and Privacy Act claims without the disclosure of privileged information, nor would the defendants be able to defend against these claims without the same disclosures… the plaintiff’s case must be dismissed, albeit with great consternation, in the interests of national security,” Walton says in his ruling. (Bohn 7/7/2004) Walton never heard evidence from Edmonds’ lawyers. (Bridis 7/6/2004; Associated Press 7/7/2004)

Judge Reggie Walton excuses a juror from further service in the Lewis Libby trial. The juror explains that her employer will not pay her salary any longer if she continues to serve on the jury, and she cannot continue without being paid more than the $35/day the court pays jurors. Walton dismisses the juror and observes, “We have 14 jurors who all look healthy—you gotta stay that way.” This is the second juror to be excused from serving. (Marcy Wheeler 1/31/2007)

A juror in the trial of Lewis “Scooter” Libby (see January 16-23, 2007)—an older woman who works at an art gallery (see February 14, 2007)—is dismissed after she discloses that she had come into contact with information about the case from outside the courtroom. The defense says it is willing to continue with 11 jurors, but the prosecution wants to seat an alternate juror and bring the number back to 12. To seat an alternate would mean restarting jury deliberations from the beginning. Judge Reggie Walton rules that the deliberations can continue with 11 jurors. (Jane Hamsher 2/26/2007; Washington Post 7/3/2007; BBC 7/3/2007) Reportedly, the defense is quite pleased with the dismissal, as the juror in question is considered sympathetic to the prosecution. (Jane Hamsher 2/26/2007) Outed CIA case officer Valerie Plame Wilson will write of her relief at avoiding a mistrial: “It felt like a bullet had been dodged.” (Wilson 2007, pp. 294)


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