The judge in the Aipac trial just ruled that defendants Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman can subpoena 15 government officials to testify in their trial, scheduled for early next year.
The list of subpoenas assures that the trial will be the best show in town, with Condoleezza Rice, Steve Hadley, Paul Wolfowitz and Doug Feith taking the stand.
This might turn out to be a little embarrassing for the Bush administration officials, who will be asked about meetings they had with Aipac officials in which they allegedly revealed secret information. After all, it was President Bush who set out to fight leaks on national security issues.
As we reported a while ago, the defense is hoping to convince the jury that leaking information to lobbyists is common practice in Washington.
Judge T.S. Ellis of the Virginia District Court seems to think this line of defense can make sense. “If true, the U.S. government’s use of Aipac for “back channel” purposes may serve to exculpate defendants by negating the criminal states of mind the government must prove to convict defendants of the charged offenses,” the judge ruled, adding that “conversations between two or more government officials, even if not communicated to defendants, might be relevant to show that particular government officials authorized the disclosure of non-public information to defendants or to Aipac.”