Monday, July 2, 2007

Independence Day for Scooter-Bush Pardon's Libby

We knew it was only a matter of when that Bush would save one of the criminals in his White House. It is afterall the most corrupt and incompetent administration in the history of this nation.

Bush's term is "commuting" Libby's sentence, saying that 30 months in prison (for repeatedly lying under oath and obstructing justice for which he was found GUILTY) was too harsh a sentence. (Actually the 30 month sentence is in line with the crimes committed.) Libby will get a $200,000 fine (?). Bush made this decision when Libby's request to stay out of prison during his appeal was denied. The media who covers the White House says they were totally surprised when this announcement came across their desks... so apparently the insiders were thrown off by this.. not that it was done, but that it happened right now.

Sad for this country, really sad...

Bush Spares Libby From Prison
Sign In to E-Mail or Save This

Published: July 2, 2007
(DC)"/>WASHINGTON (AP) -- 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.

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.

New York Times
hit tracker