Tag: Libby Trial (page 2)

Holiday Eve Scooter Libby Reaction

If President Bush thought announcing Scooter Libby's commutation just before the 4th of July would decrease media attention or criticism, he was wrong. It's a firestorm out there, and it keeps on growing.

Check out Dan Froomkin in the Washington Post, his column is filled with unanswered questions about Libby and Cheney and has scores of links to news articles, blog posts and editorial page criticism.

Arianna educates the media that this is not a left or right issue, it's a right or wrong issue, and there's plenty of conservative criticism of Bush's action.

Sentencing Law and Policy has a roundup of legal commentary.

Rep. John Conyers promises to hold hearings on the commutation. The first will be Wednesday, July 11, at 10:15 am in room 2141 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Jane and Marcy will be there live-blogging for Firedoglake. They need donations. Please, give what you can.


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Hypocrisy, Thy Name is Bush

At Huffpo's request, I put together several of my strands of thought on the Libby commutation, added a few and put them in a single post, Hypocrisy, Thy Name is Bush.

Update: The Washington Post reports Bush didn't run the decision through DOJ channels.

Here's the video of Marcy Wheeler on Hardball.

The New York Times castigates Bush for Libby's commutation:

Presidents have the power to grant clemency and pardons. But in this case, Mr. Bush did not sound like a leader making tough decisions about justice. He sounded like a man worried about what a former loyalist might say when actually staring into a prison cell.

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The DOJ Manual on Commutation

Via Talking Points Memo, with my emphasis:

DOJ manual on Commutations (emphasis added) ...

Section 1-2.113 Standards for Considering Commutation Petitions

A commutation of sentence reduces the period of incarceration; it does not imply forgiveness of the underlying offense, but simply remits a portion of the punishment. It has no effect upon the underlying conviction and does not necessarily reflect upon the fairness of the sentence originally imposed. Requests for commutation generally are not accepted unless and until a person has begun serving that sentence. Nor are commutation requests generally accepted from persons who are presently challenging their convictions or sentences through appeal or other court proceeding.

Also, Bush didn't just reduce Libby's jail sentence, he eliminated it. His reasoning was that the judge's sentence was excessive and the Probation Department had recommended a lesser term, perhaps one of probation or home confinement.


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Patrick Fitzgerald Weighs In on Scooter Libby Commutation

This just in. Patrick Fitzgerald has issued this statement on President Bush's commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence. He takes no position on the commutation, but criticizes Bush's characterization of the sentence as excessive:

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.”


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Scooter Libby Commutation, Part Two

I'm coming late to the news that President Bush has commuted Scooter Libby's prison sentence.

With the denial of bail being upheld and incarceration imminent, I believe it is now important to react to that decision," Bush said in a statement issued by the White House early this evening. Although the president said he "respected" the jury's verdict, he added that he had "concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive."

Bush left Libby's $250,000 fine in place. Big Tent Democrat weighed in here.

The text of Bush's Clemency Order is here.

My immediate thought is that Dick Cheney has some clout left after all. My second is that Libby may not get a pardon when all is said and done. From President Bush's statement:


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Appeals Court Denies Bond for Scooter Libby

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has denied Scooter Libby's request for an appeal bond.

President Bush has repeatedly said he will not pardon Scooter Libby while his case is in the Appeals court.

Does Libby have any options besides reporting to prison on schedule? If he was certain a pardon would be granted, he could drop his appeal of his conviction. Then Bush could say the matter has concluded in the courts and the time is right for him to grant a pardon.

Bush could commute his sentence to probation, reserving the pardon issue until the Appeals Court has ruled on the conviction.

Other than those, I can't think of any. It sounds like Libby will be proceeding to prison as scheduled.

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Scooter Libby Denied Appeal Bond, Ordered to Report to Prison Within Weeks

Bump and Update: As expected, Judge Walton denied Scooter Libby's request for an appeal bond and ordered him to report to prison within weeks. Team Libby will immediately appeal. Marcy Wheeler provides analysis of the ruling.

As for the time it will take the D.C. Circuit to decide Libby's appeal of Walton's decision, I can only go by how long my last one took in a different Circuit. The Notice of Appeal was filed on Jan. 18 and the 10th Circuit issued its order upholding the trial court on March 8, about 7 weeks later. I would think the D.C. Circuit might take longer.

This means Libby almost certainly will be designated and ordered to report before the Appeal is decided. So, unless the Circuit Court stays Walton's order pending the outcome of the appeal, which is not likely, or Bush commutes Libby's sentence to probation before his surrender date, Libby will do at least some time in prison.


Pach at Firedoglake will be live-blogging the Scooter Libby appeal bond hearing. Here's the latest:


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Scooter Libby's Latest Filing to Stay Free Pending Appeal

Scooter Libby is fighting hard to get an appeal bond. He's even bringing another lawyer on board, Lawrence Robbins, to "bring his special expertise."

Personally, I think Libby should get the appeal bond. Judge Walton doesn't seem inclined to agree, but nothing is certain until he rules tomorrow morning.

Note that Libby will not be going to jail tomorrow even if the appeal bond is denied. Fitzgerald doesn't oppose that and Judge Walton said he intended to grant a voluntary at last week's sentencing hearing. He will be granted a voluntary surrender date between 30 and 45 days from now. During that time, Team Libby will appeal the denial of bond, should that occur, to the D.C. Court of Appeals.

I summed up the grounds in his initial request (pdf) here. Christy at Firedoglake analyzes Fitzgerald's response here and here.

Today, Tom Maguire of Just One Minute posts Libby's response to Fitzgerald (pdf) and provides his analysis.

Jane of Firedoglake writes about Obama's general counsel Robert Bauer calling for a Libby pardon.


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Mary Matalin Pleads for Scooter Libby Defense Funds

The downside to sending out mass fund-raising letters is that you never know in whose hands they will wind up.

This one from Mary Matalin, in which she pleads for contributions for Scooter Libby's appeal and argues Libby is innocent, ended up in mine.

Here it is in its entirety. Enjoy.

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Scooter Libby Sentencing Hearing Transcript

A million thanks to Jason Leopold of Truthout who just sent me a copy of the 103 page Scooter Libby sentencing transcript he purchased from the court reporter.

If a major media outlet doesn't publish it, I'm not going to post the whole thing or share it because this is how court reporters make their money and as a practicing lawyer, I don't want to break any rules.

I will read it late tonight and post pertinent excepts. If there's any part you particularly would like to read, let me know in the comments.

In other Libby news, via How Appealing, Judge Walton is allowing an amicus brief to be filed regarding the appeal bond issue. His order is here (pdf) and Howard says to check out the disparaging footnote.

The amicus brief by law profs is here.

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Scooter Libby Files Motion for Appeal Bond, Lists Grounds

Team Libby today filed its Motion for Appeal Bond, listing the grounds upon which they believe the Court erred before and during trial. I've uploaded the motion(pdf) and attached exhibit (pdf).

I think they make some excellent arguments, particularly about the standard. It's not necessary that Judge Walton believe he was wrong, or that reversal is probable, only that the issue presents a close question or one that could have been decided the other way.

The grounds Libby raises:


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Rough Days Ahead for Scooter Libby

I have an op-ed in the Washington Examiner today on Scooter Libby's sentence and his chances for an appeal bond.

For another first-hand account of the sentencing hearing, check out Scott Shrake at Huffington Post.

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Will Scooter Libby Get an Appeal Bond?

I won't have the transcript of Tuesday's sentencing hearing in the Scooter Libby trial until today. But, Neil Lewis of the New York Times, reports:

The judge said there was no issue that Mr. Libby’s lawyers could appeal that seemed to present a reasonable chance of succeeding. But he relented somewhat and said they could file briefs next week detailing their arguments that there were two reasonable grounds for appeal: that Mr. Fitzgerald’s appointment as a special counsel was improper and that Judge Walton had erred in prohibiting the defense team from presenting experts on the fallibility of human memory.

I have thought all along that Judge Walton's refusal to allow a memory expert to testify at trial was a critical error. But Judge Walton ruled Libby's case is distinguishable from a case of faulty eyewitness memory, which is notoriously unreliable and therefore might require expert testimony.


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Dick Cheney Issues Statement on Scooter Libby

As a follow-up to Big Tent Democrat's earlier post on Cheney and Libby, this statement now appears on the White House website:

Scooter has dedicated much of his life to public service at the State Department, the Department of Defense and the White House. In each of these assignments he has served the nation tirelessly and with great distinction. I relied on him heavily in my capacity as Secretary of Defense and as Vice President. I have always considered him to be a man of the highest intellect, judgment and personal integrity-a man fully committed to protecting the vital security interests of the United States and its citizens.

Scooter is also a friend, and on a personal level Lynne and I remain deeply saddened by this tragedy and its effect on his wife, Harriet, and their young children. The defense has indicated it plans to appeal the conviction in the case. Speaking as friends, we hope that our system will return a final result consistent with what we know of this fine man.

A tragedy? I like the way he says "our system" rather than "the judicial system" or the "appellate courts." Can you spell p-a-r-d-o-n?

Cheney, the ultimate supporter of the unitary executive system.

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Legal Reaction to Scooter Libby Sentencing

Ok, we've linked to Firedoglake over and over today as they have the most thorough coverage of the Scooter Libby Sentencing (great job, Marcy, Jane and Christy.)

What are the law bloggers and commentators saying?


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