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Ex-Starr aide faces trial over leaks in Lewinsky probe

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Kenneth Starr's former spokesman faces trial next week in a battle over news leaks during the Monica Lewinsky investigation that until now was fought mostly in secret.

The criminal contempt trial of Charles Bakaly, who is being prosecuted by the government, is to begin Thursday, according to documents unsealed at the U.S. District Court.

Court documents show that Bakaly requested that the trial be held in public and that the case be unsealed. That request was granted last week by U.S. District Judge Norma Holloway Johnson, who as the chief judge of the federal court in Washington oversees matters involving grand jury secrecy.

Bakaly faces trial over statements he made concerning investigations into alleged leaks from the special prosecutor's office during President Clinton's impeachment ordeal, according to the documents.

The documents made public so far don't specify the exact reason why Bakaly was charged with contempt. But officials have said, and court documents show, that Bakaly was accused by his own office of having a role in a January 1999 news leak during Clinton's impeachment trial. He denied being the source of the leak.

Johnson, who presided over most of the legal cases during the Lewinsky impeachment drama, solicited the views of Clinton's lawyers and Starr's successor, Robert Ray, as to whether sealed documents in the case should be made public at Bakaly's trial.

Bakaly was unavailable for comment, his wife said Thursday.