Bush commutes Libby prison sentence

Post Reply
Zanfanginen

Bush commutes Libby prison sentence

Post by Zanfanginen » Mon Jul 02, 2007 11:06 pm

Bush commutes Libby prison sentence

By BEN FELLER, Associated Press Writer 20 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - President Bush spared former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby from a 2 1/2-year prison term in the CIA leak investigation Monday, delivering a political thunderbolt in the highly charged criminal case. Bush said the sentence was just too harsh.

Bush's move came just five hours after a federal appeals panel ruled that Libby could not delay his prison term. That meant Libby was likely to have to report soon, and it put new pressure on the president, who had been sidestepping calls by Libby's allies to pardon Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff.

"I respect the jury's verdict," Bush said in a statement. "But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby's sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison."

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald disputed the president's assertion that the prison term was excessive. Libby was sentenced under the same laws as other criminals, Fitzgerald said. "It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals," the prosecutor said.

Libby's attorney, Theodore Wells, said in a statement that the Libby family was grateful for Bush's action and continued to believe in his innocence.

Bush's decision enraged Democrats and cheered conservatives — though some of the latter wished Bush had granted a full pardon.

"Libby's conviction was the one faint glimmer of accountability for White House efforts to manipulate intelligence and silence critics of the Iraq war," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. "Now, even that small bit of justice has been undone."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Bush's decision showed the president "condones criminal conduct."

Unlike a pardon, which would have wiped away Libby's criminal record, Bush's commutation voided only the prison term.

The president left intact a $250,000 fine and two years' probation for his conviction of lying and obstructing justice in a probe into the leak of a CIA operative's identity. The former operative, Valerie Plame, contends the White House was trying to discredit her husband, a critic of Bush's Iraq policy.

Bush said his action still "leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr. Libby."

Libby was convicted in March, the highest-ranking White House official ordered to prison since the Iran-Contra affair roiled the Reagan administration in the 1980s. Arms were secretly sold to Iran to gain freedom for American hostages, with the money funneled to anti-communist guerrillas in Nicaragua in spite of a congressional ban. Bush's father, former President George H.W. Bush, issued pardons for six former officials shortly before leaving office in 1992.

Testimony in the Libby case revealed the extraordinary steps that Bush and Cheney were willing to take to discredit a critic of the Iraq war.

Libby's supporters celebrated the president's decision.

"President Bush did the right thing today in commuting the prison term for Scooter Libby," said House Republican Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri.

"That's fantastic. It's a great relief," said former Ambassador Richard Carlson, who helped raise millions for Libby's defense fund. "Scooter Libby did not deserve to go to prison and I'm glad the president had the courage to do this."

Already at record lows in the polls, Bush risked a political backlash with his decision. President Ford tumbled in the polls after his 1974 pardon of Richard M. Nixon, and the decision was a factor in Ford's loss in the 1976 presidential election.

White House officials said Bush knew he could take political heat and simply did what he thought was right. They would not say what advice Cheney might have given the president.

On the other hand, Bush's action could help Republican presidential candidates by letting them off the hook on the question of whether they would pardon Libby.

Bush said Cheney's former aide was not getting off free.

"The reputation he gained through his years of public service and professional work in the legal community is forever damaged," Bush said. "His wife and young children have also suffered immensely. He will remain on probation. The significant fines imposed by the judge will remain in effect. The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant and private citizen will be long-lasting."

A spokeswoman for Cheney said simply, "The vice president supports the president's decision."

The White House said Bush came to his decision in the past week or two and made it final Monday because of the ruling of the appeals panel, which meant Libby would be going to prison soon.

The president's announcement came just as prison seemed likely for Libby. He recently lost an appeals court fight that was his best chance to put the sentence on hold, and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons had already designated him inmate No. 28301-016.

Bush's statement made no mention of the term "pardon," and he made clear that he was not willing to wipe away all penalties for Libby.

The president noted Libby supporters' argument that the punishment did not fit the crime for a "first-time offender with years of exceptional public service."

Yet, he added: "Others point out that a jury of citizens weighed all the evidence and listened to all the testimony and found Mr. Libby guilty of perjury and obstructing justice. They argue, correctly, that our entire system of justice relies on people telling the truth. And if a person does not tell the truth, particularly if he serves in government and holds the public trust, he must be held accountable."

Bush then stripped away the prison time.

The leak case has hung over the White House for years. After CIA operative Valerie Plame's name appeared in a 2003 syndicated newspaper column, Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald questioned top administration officials, including Bush and Cheney, about their possible roles.

Nobody was ever charged with the leak, including Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage or White House political adviser Karl Rove, who provided the information for the original article. Prosecutors said Libby obstructed the investigation by lying about how he learned about Plame and whom he told.

Plame believes Libby and other White House officials conspired to leak her identity to reporters in 2003 as retribution against her husband, Joseph Wilson, who criticized what he said was the administration's misleading use of prewar intelligence on Iraq.

Attorney William Jeffress said he had spoken to Libby briefly by phone and "I'm happy at least that Scooter will be spared any prison time. ... The prison sentence was imminent, but obviously the conviction itself is a heavy blow to Scooter."

A White House official notified the trial judge, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, of the decision. Walton, a Bush appointee who served in the White House under the president's father, had cited the "overwhelming" evidence against Libby when he handed down his sentence. A courthouse spokesman said Walton would not comment.

___

Associated Press writer Matt Apuzzo contributed to this report.

Zanfanginen

Post by Zanfanginen » Mon Jul 02, 2007 11:22 pm

I'm not surprised at Bush's decision to commute Libby's sentence, because the latter's a Cheney's employee and, in his mind, has done a great job of exposing Valerie Plame in order to humiliate his husband, Joseph Wilson, for denouncing the Bush administration's lies on nuclear weapons in Niger. This clown (Bush) confirm his status as a criminal that would do anything, along with Cheney, to escape prosecution for crimes against humanity. Totally pathetic to see rich criminals getting away from justice.

User avatar
Guysanto
Site Admin
Posts: 1289
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2003 6:32 pm

Post by Guysanto » Tue Jul 03, 2007 8:35 am

Zanfanginen,

In every society some people are subject to the law and some people are above the law. For the past 6 years, the current government of the United States has clearly placed itself above all man-made laws, national and international. But the natural laws will catch up to it eventually.

What I am most disappointed about is the character of the American people during that time. They put up with a lot of crap, and called that patriotic. Perhaps this will change, albeit too little too late, in the next several months. At the moment, the Emperor is hiding behind nothing but a fig leaf.

That fig leaf itself has begun to shrink.

Caroline_

May 9, 2007 -- Martial Law

Post by Caroline_ » Tue Jul 03, 2007 12:11 pm

>legislation signed on May 9, 2007, declares that in the event of a "catastrophic event", the President can take total control over the government and the country, bypassing all other levels of government at the state, federal, local, territorial and tribal levels, and thus ensuring total unprecedented dictatorial power.


http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases ... 09-12.html

Barb
Posts: 140
Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2006 1:36 pm

Post by Barb » Tue Jul 03, 2007 3:57 pm

I checked out the webpage. It appears quite innocent on the face of it, but, gee, I wish I trusted those people a little more...

Maybe it is something in the water there?

Caroline_

water...

Post by Caroline_ » Tue Jul 03, 2007 6:49 pm

[quote]Maybe it is something in the water there?[/quote]



yeah, it's called "fascism".

User avatar
Guysanto
Site Admin
Posts: 1289
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2003 6:32 pm

Call Out The Instigator

Post by Guysanto » Wed Jul 04, 2007 8:47 am

Published on Tuesday, July 3, 2007 by CommonDreams.org

Call Out The Instigator
by Cindy Sheehan

[quote]Call out the Instigator
Because there's something in the air
We got to get together sooner or later
Because the revolution's here
You know it's right!

-Thunderclap Newman[/quote]

I'm not backing off. I tried to remove myself from the political realm of the US, what BushCo is turning into an Evil Empire, but the blatant audacity of George commuting Scooter's sentence (he's not ruling out a full pardon —and you know he will) has dragged me kicking and screaming back in. I can't sit back and let this BushCo drag our country further down into the murky quagmire of Fascism and violence, taking the rest of the world with them!

I have sat quietly back these past five weeks as the slaughter in Iraq sorrowfully surges along with George's bloody escalation—and as the philosophical opposition to the war has soared to almost four out of every five Americans. I have remained silent when Senator Barack Obama said that impeachment is only reserved for “grave, grave” breeches! Well, BushCo has created hundreds of thousands of graves dug by their lies and greed. For cripes' sake, George admitted to breaking the FISA Act (which is a felony) that also breeched the 4th Amendment to our Constitution that already prohibited illegal search and seizure. How was Bill Clinton's offense graver than George's, Dick's, or Scooter's? Did we ever think that the criminality and arrogance of the Nixon White House would be eclipsed in our time with nary a “baaaah” from the Sheeple in Congress?

George has said that America doesn't “do torture” when we have all seen the images of torture from Abu Ghraib (don't believe your lyin' eyes) and know that hundreds of people sold to the US Army for an immoral bounty are incarcerated within the inhumane confines of Guantanamo Prison which is right in our own back yard.

I have had to bite my tongue – HARD — as the George and Dick crime cabal, (formerly known has the executive branch) have claimed that their offices are not to be held up to the same standards of accountability and control as any other entity in the human race, governmental or private.

It has been recently reported that Nancy Pelosi said that impeachment is not “worth it.” Her faulty reasoning is that impeachment would take too much time because they don't have the votes. If they could “whip” their own Democratic caucus into shape to defend and protect our Constitution and the people of Iraq and our soldiers as they whupped, cajoled, threatened and browbeat the caucus into attaching “non-binding” time lines onto the last war funding bill, then impeachment would not only be possible, but likely.

The recent commutation of I. Scooter Libby's sentence, however, was the straw that broke my camel's back of exhausted ennui. Patrick Fitzgerald is a thoughtful and thorough prosecutor who did a heroic job of bringing at least one of the Bush Crime Mob to justice. Even though we were all very pleased, we knew that it was not enough and that Mr. Fitzgerald would delve deeper into the feces infested executive branch. The lawlessness of the Bush Administration has reached wild west proportions and the inmates definitely have control of the US(A)sylum.

A very dear friend of mine, Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus, is being harassed by the Air Force for “Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman” because “The Rev” fulfills his duty as an Officer and a Gentleman honorably by protesting Iraq and the Fascist Bush Regime almost constantly. The Rev is still in Individual Ready Reserve so the Air Force believes it is within its parameters to pursue the charges, although every “Officer and Gentleman(woman)” should be protesting the atrocious mistakes in the Middle East. After The Rev's hearing on July 12th, (in Macon, GA) he is going to begin a “symbolic” walk from the Reverend Martin Luther King's grave (Atlanta, GA) to DC — I am going to be there for him and to begin the march, but I am not going to make it symbolic.

We are going to walk from Atlanta, GA to Congress beginning July 13th and ending up in DC on July 23rd to send the mis-leaders back home to face the music of justice in their own districts.

It is about time us “peasants” (in the eyes of the Fascist Ruling Elite) march on DC with our “pitchforks” of righteous anger and our “torches” of truth to demand the ouster of BushCo. I have a dream of the detention centers that George has built and filled being instead filled with Orange Clad neo-cons and neo-connettes.

If Congress won't dig BushCo's political grave, it is the People's job to do so. Thomas Jefferson said that we need a Revolution every 20 years, or so, to keep our Republic honest. Over 225 years have passed since our last Revolution (if you don't count the War Between the States) and we are long overdue for one. Turn off your TVs, kiss your pets goodbye, bring the kids and flock to the federal seat of corruption, or join us on our walk there, for a People's Accountability Movement to be in the face of the Criminal BushCo and the Complicit Congress for the last week of session before they go on their undeserved vacations (why do they get vacations when the Iraqi parliamentarians don't?)

On the eve of our first revolution: You know it's right!

Author's note: Please, I already see “Attention Whore Back.” If anyone thinks that I am going to walk hundreds of miles in the Deep South during July for attention, then please join us! We will be publishing our route and plans for Accountability events along the way, within the next few days. Stay tuned.

Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan who was KIA in Iraq on 04/04/04. She is a co-founder and President of Gold Star Families for Peace and the author of two books: Not One More Mother's Child and Dear President Bush.

Caroline_

the walk

Post by Caroline_ » Sat Jul 14, 2007 12:44 pm

Guy -- did you go on the walk?

Post Reply