I don't know a lot about this case because frankly it was really disgusting to me and I didn't care to soil myself with the info. I'll reserve 100% judgment but at this moment this looks reasonably bad.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush has commuted the prison term of former White House aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who faced 30 months in prison after a federal court convicted him of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators.
President Bush commuted convicted White House aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby's 30 month prison sentence Monday.
Earlier Monday, a federal appeals court unanimously ruled that Libby could not delay his sentence.
The charges relate to the 2003 leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity.
Libby was only weeks away from surrendering to a prison.
Bush, who was under great pressure by Libby allies to pardon the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.
In a written statement issued hours after that ruling, Bush called the sentence "excessive." But he also rejected calls for a pardon for Libby.
"The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant, and private citizen will be long-lasting," Bush said.
But he said Libby was given "a harsh sentence based in part on allegations never presented to the jury."
Libby was the highest-ranking White House official ordered to prison since the Iran-Contra affair.
The conviction remains and Libby will have to pay $250,000 fine.
A commutation is a total right of the president and it cannot be challenged by any attorney or court. It means that Libby will still have the conviction on his record. Commutations are rarely granted.
A pardon is a much more complete eradication of a record which makes it appear as if the person has never been convicted. It's possible that Bush could still grant Libby a full pardon.
"The sentence in this case was imposed pursuant to the laws governing sentencings which occur every day throughout this country. In this case, an experienced federal judge considered extensive argument from the parties and then imposed a sentence consistent with the applicable laws. It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals. That principle guided the judge during both the trial and the sentencing."
"I find Bush's action very troubling because of the obvious special treatment Libby received. President Bush has set a remarkable record in the last 6+ years for essentially never exercising his powers to commute sentences or pardon those in jail. His handful of pardons have been almost all symbolic gestures involving cases decades old, sometimes for people who are long dead. Come to think of it, I don't know if Bush has ever actually used his powers to get one single person out of jail even one day early. If there are such cases, they are certainly few and far between. So Libby's treatment was very special indeed."
"Only a president clinically incapable of understanding that mistakes have consequences could take the action he did today. President Bush has just sent exactly the wrong signal to the country and the world. In George Bush's America, it is apparently okay to misuse intelligence for political gain, mislead prosecutors and lie to the FBI. George Bush and his cronies think they are above the law and the rest of us live with the consequences. The cause of equal justice in America took a serious blow today."
Last edited by Absolutely Adequate on Tue Jul 03, 2007 10:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
brewcrew4you wrote:To be fair, the sentance handed down was quite excessive for the crime, in this situation. Perjury/Obstruction of Justice rarely goes to trial, but because he was a political target...
As I understand it, Bush political appointee James Comey named Bush political appointee and career prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to investigate the Plame leak. Bush political appointee and career prosecutor Fitzgerald filed an indictment and went to trial before Bush political appointee Reggie Walton. A jury convicted Libby, and Bush political appointee Walton sentenced him. At sentencing, Bush political appointee Judge Walton described the evidence against Libby as "overwhelming" and concluded that a 30-month sentence was appropriate. And yet the claim, as I understand it, is that the Libby prosecution was the work of political enemies who were just trying to hurt the Bush Administration.
I love how the administration has been adamantly denying for the past several weeks that the president would not pardon Libby. Just yesterday afternoon I heard a report that they denied he would do so. This was followed by the report that President Bush rarely exercised his power of commute, even denying a request from the Pope to pardon the death sentence of an elderly woman on death row after she had become a born-again Christian. It's also unique because Libby never served a day in jail; and one can assume that the administration was banking on Libby's request to remain free on bond while his appeal process went through the system to be granted. It was not.
This is the nature of a lame-duck presidency though. To accuse the President of cronyism now would be a vast understatement to his entire tenure as president. And no matter what can and cannot be proven, a president's legacy is based far more on America's opinion and suspicion than anything else.
If you're a battery, you're either working or you're dead....
Fitzgerald Questions Whether Equal Justice Prevails in Libby Case
By E&P Staff
Published: July 02, 2007 8:55 PM ET
CHICAGO Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the Republican-appointed federal prosecutor in the Plame/CIA leak case, released a brief statement tonight, after President Bush commuted the prison sentence of Lewis "Scooter" Libby.
It read: "We fully recognize that the Constitution provides that commutation decisions are a matter of presidential prerogative and we do not comment on the exercise of that prerogative.
"We comment only on the statement in which the President termed the sentence imposed by the judge as 'excessive.' The sentence in this case was imposed pursuant to the laws governing sentencings which occur every day throughout this country. In this case, an experienced federal judge considered extensive argument from the parties and then imposed a sentence consistent with the applicable laws. It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals. That principle guided the judge during both the trial and the sentencing.
"Although the President’s decision eliminates Mr. Libby’s sentence of imprisonment, Mr. Libby remains convicted by a jury of serious felonies, and we will continue to seek to preserve those convictions through the appeals process.”