Suspicious package prompts evacuation of federal courthouse

A federal courthouse within sight of the Capitol building was evacuated Wednesday when a suspicious package was found near the building.

Sheldon Snook, chief of staff to Chief Judge Thomas Hogan, said fire alarms were sounded and the building was cleared as a precaution. Law enforcement officials were surveying the area around the building's entrance.

Evacuation of the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse occurred shortly before a hearing was to begin in the CIA leak case.

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and about eight of his associates were forced to leave the building and join more than 100 others on the sidewalks nearby.

The defendant in the case, former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and his legal team had not arrived.

The judges of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia were moved across the street to the District of Columbia Superior Courthouse.

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