Irve Lewis Libby Jr.

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Irve Lewis "Scooter" Libby Jr. is a former deputy Secretary of Defense, Chief of Staff, National Security Advisor and private Attorney to Vice President Dick Cheney.

Libby was born in New Haven, Connecticut; his father was an investment banker.[1] Various sources report that he has been rather secretive about his actual first name, and that the initial "I." stands for Irving.[2][3] According to interviews, he first acquired his nickname "Scooter" as an infant, when his father, after seeing him move quickly across his crib, described him as "a scooter".[4]

He previously served as the attorney of Marc David Reich, whom was convicted of tax evasion and illegal trading with Iran,[5] and was then given a full pardon by Bill Clinton in January, 2001.

He was convicted on 3 of 5 charges in the Plame Affair, including perjury and obstruction of justice, for which he received a 30 month prison sentence, a $250,000 fine, and probation. On July 2nd, he received a presidential commutation of his 30 month sentence.


Contents

Valerie Plame case

Libby was convicted on four counts and his sentence was later commuted. The convictions were on:

  • Obstruction of Justice (intentionally deceiving the grand jury about how he learned, and “disclosed to the media,” information about Valerie Plame Wilson’s employment by the CIA);
  • Making a False Statement (intentionally giving the FBI false information about a conversation he had with Tim Russert);
  • Perjury (knowingly providing false testimony about a conversation he had with Russert and knowingly providing false testimony about his conversation with reporters regarding Valerie Plame Wilson’s CIA employment).

He was found not guilty on an additional charge, that he gave false statements to the FBI about his conversation with Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper.[6]

Libby testified that he learned about Plame from the White House about a month before Russert told him in a phone conversation, and that he told Russert he didn't know about Plame. Russert testified that Plame was not mentioned in the phone call, and documents showed that it was unlikely that Libby had forgotten about Plame. Libby did not testify at his trial, and it is not known how he would have resolved the apparent contradictions.

Although the U.S. Probation Office recommended a sentence of 15-21 months, Judge Reggie B. Walton (appointed to the federal bench by George H.W. Bush) sentenced Libby to thirty months in jail and a fine of $250,000 on June 5th, 2007.[7]

Response to Conviction and Sentence

Libby's lawyers repeatedly emphasized that Valerie Plame's employment at the CIA was disclosed by columnist Robert Novak in July of 2003 and that Novak's "primary sources" were Richard Armitage (former deputy Secretary of State) and Karl Rove (a presidential advisor) ... not Scooter Libby. In addition, a CIA spokesperson, Bill Harlow, confirmed the information about Plame's CIA employment to Novak.

It was also noted that the overwhelming evidence from the FBI and grand jury investigations and the trial proceedings shows that neither Libby nor the numerous other government official who discussed Ms. Wilson's employment believed she was covert, or that her employment status was classified. As a result, none of the five witness who testified that Libby discussed Plame with them suggested that they felt that they were having a conversation about a covert or classified employee, a point affirmed in an August 2004 government affidavit and the government's Guidelines Memorandum ("the information to which defendant was given access did not expressly identify Ms. Wilson as a covert agent.")

With respect to the sentencing stage, Libby's lawyers complained about the behavior of prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. In October 2005, Fitzgerald said (in a press conference) that he would not speak to "whether or not Valerie Wilson was covert." Early in discovery, Libby's lawyers sought documents which addressed the topic and the government refused to provide the information because it was "irrelevant." The government argued Wilson's status was "not an element of any of the three statutory violations charged." In June of 2006, the court issued a discovery order which, again, emphasized that Wilson's employment was "immaterial to the preparation of the defense." In preliminary instructions to the jury, the judge said her "actual status" was "totally irrelevant" to any "assessment" of the Libby's guilty or innocence. After the trial, however, in its sentencing memo, the government adopted a "new position" - that Wilson was a "covert agent" and that Libby should be sentenced as though that fact were established at trial.

Libby and Presidential Clemency

Almost from the beginning of his trial the President was encouraged to pardon Libby. Among those calling for pardon were William F. Buckley, Jr, Fred Thompson, Cal Thomas, Ann Coulter, Jack Kemp, Tom DeLay[8] and Robert Bauer, general counsel to Barack Obama[9] But the trial continued and sentence was announced without presidential interference. As decisions were being made regarding the possibility of bail, many believed President Bush's hand would be forced, that he would have to grant a pardon in order to spare Libby from entering prison. [10] On July 2, 2007, after a ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that Libby's prison sentence couldn't be suspended as the appeals process was pursued, President Bush's hand was forced and he commuted Libby's prison sentence. This means that while Libby will serve no jail time, he will still have to pay the fine, stay on probation, and the conviction will remain on his record. [11] This decision was decried by Democratic Party Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama [12] though supported by others. Joe Wilson, on the day of President Bush's commutation of Libby, spoke to CNN's Wolf Blitzer on the Situation Room in which he stated, "Scooter Libby is a traitor."

Disbarment

On March 20, 2008, Libby was stripped of his ability to practice law as a result of his conviction in the case, per the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Obstruction of justice and lying are considered crimes involving "moral turpitude" that under the law require disbarment, the court ruled. The local Board on Professional Responsibility had recommended that Libby be disbarred, the court said in its brief order, which also stated that Libby has not opposed his disbarment. [13]

See also

References

  1. "A Rough Road For 'Scooter'?", Kenneth T. Walsh
  2. "Guarding the 'I' in I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby", Mike Pesca, National Public Radio, October 19, 2005.
  3. "In the Spotlight And on the Spot: Scooter Libby, Backstage No More", Mark Leibovich, Washington Post, 23 October, 2005.
  4. "Libby: Lawyer, Adviser, Author: Cheney's Chief Of Staff Both Political Insider And Acclaimed Novelist", Stephen Smith, CBS News, October 28, 2005
  5. CNN - GOP lawyer: Facts 'misconstrued' in Rich case
  6. MSNBC
  7. Yahoo News
  8. http://libbypardon.net/procon.htm
  9. Obama aide wants Libby pardoned, By Sam Youngman, The Hill, June 14, 2007.
  10. "Respite for Libby?" National Review, June 14, 2007
  11. [1] "Grant of Executive Clemency, July 2, 2007",
  12. Commutes Libby's Prison Term in CIA Leak Case, By Edwin Chen, "Bloomberg.com", July 2, 2007.
  13. [2] "Former aide to Cheney disbarred after conviction", Reuters

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