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Former ambassadors, a magazine mogul, and a popular TV actor are among the Republican bigwigs rallying behind indicted former vice presidential aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby to help raise money for his legal defense. The group of more than two dozen supporters — led by Mel Sembler, a real estate tycoon and former U.S. ambassador to Italy — stepped up their fund-raising efforts last week with the launch of a Web site to collect online donations for the Libby Legal Defense Trust. Michael Green, a tax lawyer with Dickstein Shapiro Morin & Oshinsky, is serving as trustee of the fund. Green declined to comment about his role or his relationship to Libby, referring questions to fund spokeswoman Barbara Comstock, a lobbyist with Blank Rome Government Relations. “It’s a very distinguished group of people who sort of organically came together to support Scooter and put their good names behind helping him restore his good name,” says Comstock, former chief spokeswoman for the Justice Department under John Ashcroft. Libby has pleaded not guilty to perjury and obstruction of justice charges stemming from an investigation into the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity. So far, more than $2 million has been collected, most of which was raised prior to starting the Web site. A few of the notable GOP figures involved in the fund raising are former CIA Director James Woolsey; Steve Forbes, editor in chief and CEO of Forbes magazine; and Fred Thompson, a former U.S. senator from Tennessee who now stars as the district attorney in the TV series “Law and Order.”
Sarah Kelley can be contacted at [email protected].

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