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There is a 1:30 pm ET status conference scheduled in the Libby case today.  ABC’s Jason Ryan reports that it was scheduled at the request of Team Libby:

ABC News’ Jason Ryan reports, "The grand jury hearing the leak investigation case is scheduled to meet at 9:30 am ET. Special prosecutor Fitzgerald is in town for a 1:30 pm ET hearing before Judge Walton in the Libby case. The hearing will be a status conference requested by Libby’s lawyers after Fitzgerald disclosed in court papers that President Bush had authorized Libby to disclose sections of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq’s WMD."

Two things: first, I want to reiterate what Jane said about The Note’s reporting on the grand jury scheduling in this case. This is a regular grand jury — the grand jury room is booked every single Wednesday and Friday for them, in case any US Attorney in the DC Circuit needs to use them for indictment or other grand jury purposes. This jury isn’t reserved solely for Pat Fitzgerald’s use. And as far as I know today, he isn’t meeting with them (he’s got a hearing to prep for this afternoon, after all).  Trust me when I say that if we have news that Fitz is meeting with the Grand Jury, we will definitely share it with you guys.

Second, a status conference can be a number of things, but is generally a review of a particular issue that has come up or an evidentiary matter or some other targeted reason for discussion among the adversarial parties and the judge to receive some form of clarification.  As I recall, this is actually a hearing on whether or not the information that Libby disseminated "classified" (or secretly declassified, depending on your source of info) information on order of the President from the NIE will be used at trial and, if so, how it will be used.  (Have had some difficulty getting my hands on the motion and scheduling order for this, so I’ll amend as I get that in hand this morning if need be, but I’m fairly certain that is today’s argument topic.)  Normally, this sort of 404(b) evidence isn’t argued until much closer to trial — but my hunch is that Judge Walton wanted some clarification on this as well, given that he’ll be having to make CIPA classified information determinations after this week’s ruling.

More news on this as I get it.

UPDATE:  Hmmmm, well this is odd — the hearing is not on the court docket as of a noon update.  It may be that they have decided to close the hearing to the public, due to an issue involving classified material (although usually that gets docketed anyway with a notation that its closed), but the hearing isn’t on the schedule anywhere that I can see.  Will see what I can dig up on this, if anything, from the tight-lipped folks at the courthouse or from any sources, and will report back if I get anything. 

UPDATE #2:  Huge thanks to readers Jeff and Mary for tracking down the Order information which tells us what the hearing ought to be about today.

(Photo by Scott Applewhite of the AP — just love the interplay of the light and shadows in and out of Team Libby and the courthouse.  Definitely a thousand words type of picture.)

ORDER On May 5, 2006, this Court will conduct a hearing to address the defendant’s Third Motion to Compel Discovery Under Rule 16 and Brady. A substantial number of the defendant’s document requests, which are the subject of this motion, are predicated upon the defendant’s desire to respond to each factual allegation in the October 28, 2005 indictment. Accordingly, resolution of many of the issues in the defendant’s motion may depend, at least in part, on which factual allegations in the indictment the government intends to introduce evidence about in its case-in-chief.

Accordingly, it is hereby this 3rd day of May, 2006,

ORDERED that the government should, at the May 5, 2006 hearing, be prepared to specify which factual allegations contained in the indictment it intends to introduce evidence about in its case-in-chief.

As Mary says, there was not a lot of advance notice on this for the lawyers, but sometimes as an attorney you gets a heads up during a scheduling conference call, so the order date may not necessarily reflect the notification date. In any case, this is some important stuff in terms of defining the factual allegations which will be used at trial from the indictment — and it should make for a very interesting transcript read.

UPDATE #3:  This ought to quack everyone up — some waddling at the last Rove G/J appearance, and no, it’s not Karl doing it.  A little Friday amusement for everyone.