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Tuesday morning was a busy one for Joseph Cotchett. “I’m just getting ready to do an 11 o’clock interview with CNN,” the lead partner at Cotchett, Pitre, Simon & McCarthy said, by way of explaining his brief responses to questions about his latest clients, outed CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson and her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson. In the three or so years since Joseph Wilson publicly criticized the Bush administration’s run-up to the Iraq war � and started a chain of events that led to White House officials blowing his wife’s cover � much legal energy has been spent on the case. There was Patrick Fitzgerald’s long-running investigation; the jailed, and later disgraced, former New York Times reporter Judith Miller; and finally the obstruction-of-justice indictment of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney. And after all that, the Wilsons themselves are just now getting around to pursuing their own litigation. Last month, they sued Cheney, Libby, top Bush adviser Karl Rove, and 10 unnamed administration officials for the leaks. Since then, the couple has been working to assemble a legal team. After conducting a beauty contest for the role, the Wilsons last week hired Cotchett and his partner, Frank Pitre, as their trial counsel. “I flew to Washington last week, they interviewed me, and they did it,” Cotchett said. He and Pitre join a team that includes Duke University School of Law professor Erwin Chemerinsky and lawyers from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Best known as a plaintiff lawyer who mixes extremely lucrative class action work with high-profile public interest cases, Cotchett has gained headlines recently for various pieces of litigation stemming from California’s 2000-2001 energy crisis. Earlier this month, he convinced a state judge in San Diego to order natural gas companies to disclose tape recordings of traders during that period. Cotchett and Pitre have also been politically active for years; Pitre is head of the Consumer Attorneys of California, and Cotchett is a serial near-candidate for state attorney general. Cotchett said Tuesday he’s not betting the case will settle anytime soon. And whether it goes to trial or not, he’s expecting a “wild” next few months. “I’m going to take Karl Rove’s deposition,” he said, with eager anticipation.

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