By Producer
NBC News
updated 2/2/2007 10:01:35 PM ET 2007-02-03T03:01:35

Fourteen media organizations, including NBC News, have filed court papers asking District Judge Reggie Walton, who is presiding over the perjury trial of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, to allow them access to seven hours of audio recordings of Libby's grand jury testimony.

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The jury is scheduled to begin hearing those recordings in court on Monday.

The media's court filing states, "Absent truly extraordinary circumstances, no recognizable threat to a fair trial is posed by the release of audio tape evidence as soon as it is played to the jury."

Walton on Thursday expressed concerns about the release of the tapes. "To put those tapes out in the public domain while this case is being tried ... makes it more difficult obviously to ensure that the defendant receives a fair trial," he said.

Walton added that "the sensationalism of having his voice, I think, is just going to enhance the amount of media coverage that would be regarding the case."

Attorneys representing the news organizations cited court releases to the media in high-profile cases of undercover videotapes of FBI stings and "surreptitiously recorded conversations."

"We do not believe the defendant can identify a single case from any jurisdiction in which the release of audio or videotape evidence has ever been held to render a trial unfair," the attorneys said.

Libby's grand jury testimony is about the leak of a CIA operative’s name.

Nobody was charged with the leak, but Libby was charged with perjury, accused of lying about when and how he found out about the operative's name.

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