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Scooter Libby Gets 30 Months

The Blog of the Legal Times (BLT) reports that Scooter Libby was sentenced to 30 months of jail time for his March 2007 conviction by a federal jury on four counts of false statements and obstruction of justice. As Emma Schwartz describes in her BLT post, Judge Walton reached his decision only after a difficult deliberation, but ultimately, resorted to strict application of the federal sentencing guidelines:

Walton noted his admiration for people such as Libby, who have worked dilligently in the intelligence arena to ensure the security of this country, particularly since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Libby, he said, was clearly a "positive" and "contributing" member to this society and country, as indicated by the approximately 150 letters of support filed with the court .  Yet Walton felt bound by the federal sentencing guidelines, which require that Libby serve between 30 and 37 months. "I appreciate that sometimes people make mistakes," Walton said. But "the evidence is this case overwhelmingly indicate Mr. Libby's culpability," Walton said. While he did not think the evidence indicated that Libby knew Valerie Plame was covert, "he surely did not take any efforts to find out"—something a person in Libby's position should have done.

By the way, if you're interested in viewing the letters in support of Libby, they're available here at the The Smoking Gun.

Now that Libby's sentence has been decided, Judge Walton faces an equally difficult decision: whether to allow Libby to remain free on bail pending appeal. Sentencing guru Doug Berman discusses the issue in this post. According to Berman, a bail decision won't be made until the end of the month -- plenty of time for both discussion of a pardon as well as a decision from the Supreme Court in a similar matter, involving Victor Rita. As Berman discussed in an earlier  post, the Supreme Court is currently reviewing the conviction of Rita, a goverment official who received a 33-month sentence for similar allegations of lying under oath and interfering with an investigation. Berman writes that if Rita prevails at the Supreme Court, Libby's lawyers will have even stronger grounds for appeal -- which in turn will strengthen the argument for allowing Libby to remain free while his appeal is pending.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on June 5, 2007 at 05:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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