Jay Reding.com

Bush Grants Clemency To Libby

President Bush has officially commuted Scooter Libby’s jail sentence while not commuting either his fines or his two-year probation.

The President’s statement on the matter can be found here.

This is by no means a full pardon, but it does correct an unduly harsh and undeserved sentence that was largely based on allegations that were never presented to the jury nor exposed at trial. Such actions are deeply harmful to the rule of law in this country — Mr. Libby should not be used as a partisan whipping boy because there was no evidence to get the targets that left-wing activists wanted so desperately to be implicated in this non-scandal. Patrick Fitzgerald knew who the leaker was from the beginning: Richard Armitage. No one was charged with violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, and Fitzgerald’s investigation found no evidence of the broad conspiracy that the feverish dreams of the left had concocted.

Scooter Libby was sentenced by a jury, and the President made the choice to respect their decision to sanction Libby for those acts. At the same time, the prosecution’s case was exceptionally weak, and the very structure of the Fitzgerald inquest was constitutionally dubious at best.

Scooter Libby was being given disparate treatment for partisan purposes, and the President was right to commute that unnecessary and inappropriate sentence while leaving the jury’s verdict intact.

6 responses to “Bush Grants Clemency To Libby”

  1. Mark says:

    Just one question. Was impeachment too severe of a punishment for Bill Clinton who committed a similar “crime”? If you can honestly say you didn’t approve of Clinton’s impeachment in 1999, then perhaps you can be taken seriously in giving Libby’s get-out-of-jail-free card the thumbs-up.

  2. Microharman says:

    Psst …. Mark. Hey buddy, by definition impeachment is not a punishment. Impeachment is a formal action that in and by itself is no more then name calling. Now, if Clinton had been convicted and sentenced to jail maybe your statement would make sense. But wait he was acquitted…..that’s right nothing happened. Mark you so crazy….

  3. Bonnie says:

    Mark,

    Re: Your thinking regarding Scotter Libby’s pardon

    Are you a high school graduate? If so, what’s in your Kool-aid?

    What color is the sky in your world?

  4. Jay Reding says:

    Just one question. Was impeachment too severe of a punishment for Bill Clinton who committed a similar “crime”? If you can honestly say you didn’t approve of Clinton’s impeachment in 1999, then perhaps you can be taken seriously in giving Libby’s get-out-of-jail-free card the thumbs-up.

    Except the two cases aren’t similar: there’s absolutely no doubt that Clinton perjured himself, while the case against Libby wasn’t all that strong (although the jury did find it to be). Secondly, Libby resigned before the trial.

    Not to mention that two years probation and a $250,000 fine is hardly “getting out of jail free.”

    I think commuting the sentence was the right thing to do: Libby’s career in government is over, he still has two years of probation, and still has to pay the fine. Libby wasn’t pardoned, so his conviction still stands. 30 months in prison was a ridiculous sentence, well above the federal sentencing guidelines, and Judge Walton’s flippant treatment of the constitutional issues in this case was appalling.

    The difference between Libby and Clinton is that Libby will still pay for his acts of perjury, while Clinton never will.

    CORRECTION: Libby’s sentence was within the federal sentencing guidelines, although well on the high side of those guidelines.

  5. Mark says:

    “The difference between Libby and Clinton is that Libby will still pay for his acts of perjury, while Clinton never will.”

    Clinton lost his law license at the end of his Presidency. There were repercussions for his misdeeds, at least in the same realm as there will be for Libby now that his prison sentence has been arbitrarily commuted.

    Most hilarious is how Libby’s crimes are spun to be worse than Clinton’s….even though Clinton’s perjury obstructed a civil sexual harassment case while Libby’s perjury obstructed the outing of a covert CIA agent. I can accept that those who believed Clinton should be absolved of guilt nine years ago are saying the same about Libby today, but given the magnitude of the malfeasance, those arguing vice versa are doing so for one reason only…..Libby has an (R) next to his name and Clinton doesn’t.

  6. Eracus says:

    “Libby’s perjury obstructed the outing of a covert CIA agent…”

    Bunk. The FBI and Fitzgerald had established Richard Armitage as the source of the leak long before Libby was ever charged. By definition, there was no obstruction, so Libby was charged with perjury instead in just another sham Washington show trial. Interestingly, in private practice, serving pro bono Libby once helped a public official successfully defend himself against libelous accusations of corruption and fraud. The U.S. official involved was none other than Richard Armitage.