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Jury selection began today in the perjury trial of former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. As CNN reports, Libby is accused of lying to investigators about his conversations with reporters regarding outed CIA officer Valerie Plame. Even before it began, the trial secured its place in legal -- and blogosphere -- history. For the first time in federal court, two coveted media seats are reserved for bloggers. Not only that but the court is providing WiFi to permit them to blog live.

As the two bloggers take up their seats as credentialed members of the news media, they can thank the Media Bloggers Association. (Disclosure: I belong to the MBA through my blog Media Law.) As MBA President Robert Cox explains, this opportunity was a long time in the making.

"I have been working with the folks at the federal judiciary through for over a year to create this opportunity. It has never been done before. Behind this may be many additional opportunities with the federal and state supreme courts so getting this one right opens up the door to many other cool things. Other institutions will surely be looking at this as well."

Cox is one of the two bloggers who will kick off coverage. Blogging honors will rotate as the trial proceeds. The MBA Web site will aggregate their posts in a single feed. Other bloggers slated to participate, according to The Washington Post, include Rory O'Connor and James Joyner.

As bloggers everywhere pat themselves on the back, CJRDaily wraps up their reactions, including that of lawyer Jeralyn Merritt, who writes at her blog TalkLeft, "This is a pretty big deal." She explains:

"It's hard to get a press pass for the actual courtroom in a high-profile case, as opposed to the overflow courtroom, where you only get to hear audio of what's going on. It's just not the same. You can't see the jurors or watch the body language of the trial participants. Even major tv networks usually only get a few seats in the courtroom, with the rest of their reporters and pundits having to be in the overflow courtroom."

One small step for bloggers ...

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on January 17, 2007 at 05:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)


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