A star-struck chief of staff to Vice President Cheney was so moved by the appearance of two Hollywood celebs at his office in June 2003 that he had to mention it to his CIA briefer the next morning, NBC's Joel Seidman reports. The disclosure of Scooter Libby's brush with movie stars Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz caused a brief roar of laughter in Courtroom #16, where Libby is on trial for perjury and obstruction of justice.
The Hollywood stars visited Libby at his office in the Old Executive Office Building, part of the White House complex, according to prosecution witness Craig Schmall. When Schmall, Libby's CIA briefer, arrived at his home that Saturday, Libby had to impart his exuberance about the meeting. Schmall, told prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that Libby was truly "excited about it." So excited, apparently, that Schmall noted it on the table of contents of his briefing book. Schmall said Libby told him that Cruise and Cruz came by to lobby him about how Germany treats Scientologists. The CIA briefer, who made regular 7:00 am visits to Libby and Cheney at the White House, would also come to Libby's house in Virginia on Saturdays.
Also noted by Schmall on that same briefing book, above his notation of Tom and Penelope: "Why was the ambassador told this was a VP office question." And then he wrote, "Joe Wilson, Valerie Wilson." Prosecutors wanted to instill on the jury that Libby knew of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife prior to what he told the FBI and the grand jury, which was that he first learned of Valerie Wilson from NBC Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert. Russert has testified to investigators that Valerie Wilson's name never came up in his conversations with Libby on July 10 or 11, Seidman says.
Testifying today will be Cathie Martin, the main public affairs person in Cheney's office.