Skip to comments.Bush spares Libby from prison
Posted on 07/02/2007 2:56:38 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
WASHINGTON - President Bush spared former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby from a 2 1/2-year prison term on Monday, issuing an order that commutes his sentence.
This is a breaking news update. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
WASHINGTON (AP) Former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby cannot delay his 2 1/2-year prison term in the CIA leak case, a federal appeals panel unanimously ruled Monday.
The decision is a major setback for Libby, who is running out of legal options and who probably will have to surrender to prison in weeks. The ruling puts pressure on President Bush, who has been sidestepping calls by Libby's allies to pardon the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.
Libby was convicted in March of lying and obstructing the investigation into the 2003 leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity. He is the highest-ranking White House official ordered to prison since the Iran-Contra affair.
Libby believed he had a good chance of overturning the conviction on appeal and asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to put the sentence on hold. In a two-sentence ruling, the court refused.
The White House had no immediate reaction to the decision.
Libby's supporters, who raised millions of dollars for his defense fund, immediately renewed calls for a pardon.
"I hope it puts pressure on the president. He's a man of pronounced loyalties and he should have loyalty to Scooter Libby," said former Ambassador Richard Carlson, a member of Libby's defense fund. "It would be a travesty for him to go off to prison. The president will take some heat for it. So what? He takes heat for everything."
Attorney William Jeffress said only that Libby's defense team was weighing its options.
Those options are dwindling, however. The most likely move is an appeal to Chief Justice John Roberts, but it's unlikely that Roberts would overturn a unanimous ruling to spare Libby prison. Barring such an intervention, it seems only Bush could spare Libby prison time.
Roberts is a Bush appointee but judicial politics haven't helped Libby so far. U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, who sentenced Libby and refused to delay the prison term, was a Bush appointee. Two of the three appellate judges who denied Libby's request Monday were appointed by Republicans.
Last week, the U.S. bureau of Prisons designated Libby as federal inmate No. 28301-016. He soon will receive a time and place to surrender. The agency tries to place inmates close to home, which means candidates include prisons in Cumberland, Md.; Petersburg, Va.; Fairton, N.J.; Fort Dix, N.J. and Schuylkill, Pa.
As a first-time offender, Libby likely would be assigned to a minimum-security prison camp, where inmates sleep in bunks arranged in small cubicles with shared toilets. Whether drug dealers, insider traders, tax cheats or disgraced politicians, all prisoners are ordered to strip and submit to cavity searches on their way through the doors.
Bush and Cheney have said throughout the case that they felt sorry for Libby's wife and children. But Bush has publicly dodged questions about whether he plans to pardon Libby or commute his sentence.
The leak investigation was a political cloud over the Bush administration for years. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald interviewed Bush and Cheney and ordered key White House aides to testify before a grand jury.
Nobody was charged with leaking Plame's identity but Libby was convicted of lying about his conversations with reporters regarding the outed operative. Fitzgerald says his investigation is complete.
The appellate judges who turned down Libby's request were: David Tatel, nominated by President Clinton; David Sentelle, selected by President Ronald Reagan; and Karen LeCraft Henderson, appointed by President George H.W. Bush, father of the current president.
commutation of sentence: In criminal law, reduction of a sentence for a criminal act by action of the executive head of the government. Like pardon pardon, in law, exemption from punishment for a criminal conviction granted by the grace of the executive of a government. Commutation of sentence is a matter of grace, not of right; it is distinguished from pardon, however, in that the conviction of crime is not nullified. The commutation, hence, may be granted on condition that the criminal observe certain restrictions for the balance of his original sentence. Many states have statutes providing for commutation of sentence as a reward for good conduct during imprisonment. Once earned, the commutation becomes a matter of right and may be enforced by court action.Perhaps this will allow the appeal to go on without jail time. At the end of the appeal process, the President could still pardon him and remove the conviction.
Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former Chief of Staff to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, arrives for his sentencing hearing at U.S. District Court in Washington in this June 5, 2007 file photo. Libby, a former vice presidential aide, on July 2, 2007 lost his bid to delay serving his 2 1/2-year prison sentence while he appeals his conviction in the CIA leak case. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Files (UNITED STATES)
Jesus, adter the immigration garbage, I had no illusions about Libby getting anything from W except the shaft.
Credit where credit is due. Way to go, Mr. President!
I expected this from President Bush!!!!
This is NOT a pardon, but is still very good news. I am happy with President Bush’s decision (it’s been a long time).
Good on Bush. I couldn’t believe that he would actually allow Libby to serve time.
Let all us conservatives really piss off the liberals and give Rush Limbaugh the credit for the pressure on the President.
Heads are exploding over at DU right now
i hoped the Prez would do something like this. i just went to scooterlibby.com and made a contribution to help this guy pay his fine/bills.
Just read through the DU posts... They have gone completly coconuts. They breath fire right now.
Now, if he could just do the same for the two border patrol agents unjustly imprisoned for doing their jobs, but I’m not holding out much hope for that.
Good. A little more Bush Derangement Syndrome might finish some of them off. If nothing else, their posts will be even more entertaining than usual.
Yep! They’re screaming impeachment. Of course, the fact that the president has the legal right to commute sentences seems to have escaped their tiny little pea brains.
..and well they should. ;-)
Would you be willing to post a link to the thread you describe? I need a laugh.
me to. now lets have him get those border agents out also.
congrats jorge bush.....you are now correct about as often as a stopped clock....
but good job commuting scooter.....now PARDON...the border guards!!!!
The border agents don’t deserve a pardon.
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