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Bush Communtes Libby’s Sentence

by @ 7:05 pm on July 2, 2007. Filed under George W Bush, Politics, Valerie Plame

Earlier today, a Federal Appeals Court denied Scooter Libby’s bid to stay out of jail while his appeal was pending (a request that, even in nonviolent cases, is frequently not granted), but at the end of the day Libby received word that he won’t have to spend a day in jail no matter how the appeal turns out:

President Bush today commuted the prison sentence of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff, sparing him the 30-month term to which he was sentenced last month for lying to federal investigators about his role in the White House leak of a CIA officer’s identity.

Bush took the action just hours after a federal appeals court ruled that Libby was not entitled to remain free while he was appealing his conviction on four felonies.

“With the denial of bail being upheld and incarceration imminent, I believe it is now important to react to that decision,” Bush said in a statement issued by the White House early this evening. Although the president said he “respected” the jury’s verdict, he added that he had “concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive.”

Bush said he was letting stand a $250,000 fine that also was part of the sentence handed down last month by U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, who presided over the month-long trial last winter.

In their one-paragraph order earlier in the day, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit had denied Libby’s request to remain free while he appealed his conviction for perjury and obstruction of justice.

The judges said that Libby’s appeal did not raise “a substantial question” close enough that it was likely his conviction would be overturned.

The appeals court ruling prompted Bush to abandon the hands-off posture he had adopted towards the criminal proceedings against Libby, a 56-year-old lawyer who was Cheney’s right-hand man and an architect of the administration’s national security policies. As pressure from conservatives to give Libby a reprieve mounted on Bush over the past several months, the White House had, until now, said that it was not appropriate to intervene.

Considering that Libby was, most likely, playing the fall guy for Cheney and others, it seems like a just thing to do. Though I’m sure there will be political consequences for Republicans in 2008.

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6 Responses to “Bush Communtes Libby’s Sentence”

  1. Don says:

    Let’s see, Republicans wanted to impeach Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice, but when a Republican like Libby commits perjury and obstruction of justice Dubya signs his “Get Out of Jail Free” card. Republicans are H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E-S.

  2. Len Cardoza says:

    Lets see, Sandy Berger, one of Clinton’s top advisers stole classified written material from the National Archive and despite the fact that we do not know if all of the material was destroyed or returned, he got “no jail or prison time and the community service time he was supposed to serve has not been done. Thats Justice?????

  3. reagan says:

    What a crock! How can the president respect the jury’s decision, but commute the guy? He was found guilty of four charges against him, each of which carried a 30 month sentenct. He got 1/4 of what he may have gotten from a judge that was appointed by Ronald Reagan. This administration continues to play by their own rules, and completely disregarding the rule of law.

  4. gypsy says:

    Of course the deeper end of the Ocean is that here goes Bush doing once again what the American people clearly said no to, Yes it was a jury decision,,and it should have been allowed to stand for all the reasons stated so well by the three people before me but getting down and dirty Bush is now and has been a very poor President..making all the wrong decisions at all the wrong times,,and defying the American people at every turn. A total misuse of power, I for one am sooo glad that if we do not have the courage to impeach him that at least his term is almost up. untill of course he finds a way to change THAT law too

  5. Scooter Libby- Two wrongs…

    The reaction of the conservative blogosphere seems predictable to me….

  6. pat says:

    any guy of his age who is called “scooter” should be jailed on that alone. scooter is the name of dog….ok, maybe libby is bush’s lap dog after all.

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